In a year filled with postponements and cancellations, the 2020 NBA draft felt the effects of COVID-19 like many other events. The draft, normally a summer outing, was pushed back to Oct. 16 to match the end of the 2019-20 season at the beginning of October. With the draft order finalized on Aug. 20, along came the speculation. Former Georgia men’s basketball player Anthony Edwards is at the center of all the predictions and is expected to be one of the top picks come the middle of October. Bearing that in mind, here’s The Red & Black’s breakdown of Edwards’ fit with the franchises in possession of the top three picks, starting with pick No. 1:
The Timberwolves have been a team constantly in flux ever since franchise cornerstone Kevin Garnett was traded prior to the start of the 2007-08 season. Since then, they’ve only made the playoffs once and were bounced out of the first round in five games by the Houston Rockets in 2018. To be blunt, Minnesota doesn’t have the organizational stability that would benefit Edwards at the beginning of his career. However, they do have the makings of a competitive roster.
All-Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are good building blocks. Edwards could undoubtedly share a backcourt with Russell, who has enough experience under his belt to help Edwards get acclimated to the runnings of the league. The onus will be on Edwards to work on shooting more consistently from deep and locking in on defense to be able to stay on the floor. Edwards’ versatility could also come in handy as the Timberwolves try to find the proper rotation. He could play anywhere from lead guard to small forward in a small-ball lineup.
The Timberwolves are the most likely landing spot for Edwards come Oct. 16. Besides preparing for the expectations that come with being the No. 1 overall pick, the Atlanta native will probably need a new winter coat too.
Golden State Warriors
If the Timberwolves are lacking in organizational stability, the Warriors have an abundance of it. Golden State has been praised for being one of the finest franchises in the NBA, with Bob Myers bringing in Executive of the Year two times in the last six seasons. Alongside that, the Warriors hail one of the best backcourts in the NBA, depending on injury. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry and five-time All-Star Klay Thompson are always mentioned among the best shooters in NBA history, and there’s probably not two better guards to shadow if you’re Edwards.
Curry and Thompson’s championship experience could be invaluable to Edwards early in his career. That goes without mentioning Draymond Green, who could help craft the 6-foot-5 guard into a focused and team-oriented defender. In the past, the Warriors have been at their best when they run a small-ball lineup with Green at center and versatile guards and forwards around him. If Edwards could break some bad defensive habits, he could find himself in that rotation. But that’s only if the Timberwolves pass up on him.
The Warriors have also been linked to 7-foot-1 center James Wiseman from Memphis, who would be more of the traditional pick. The thing about the Warriors, however, is that they’ve never been ones for tradition.
Of the top three picks, the Hornets have the most uncertainty surrounding them as the draft approaches. Charlotte was predicted to get the 8th pick based on final records but jumped five spots at the lottery and are now left with a potentially franchise-changing decision. The Hornets have a number of young prospects but none that have true superstar potential. It’s hard to convince an established superstar to come to a small market like Charlotte in free agency, so the Hornets’ best bet is to try to do so in the draft. Edwards could be the answer.
The Hornets lack both the well-run organization of the Warriors and the experienced guards on Golden State and Minnesota who could act as mentors to Edwards. The first thing is much harder to come by while the second could be achieved during the offseason. Either way, Edwards will be looked at as the franchise player in Charlotte which is a large undertaking at 19-years-old. At least he’ll be closer to home, a main reason he chose to play for head coach Tom Crean at Georgia.
Printed with permission from The Red & Black independent student media organization based in Athens, Georgia; redandblack.com/sports