Anthony Edwards is scoring the basketball like a madman.
The third-year guard of the Minnesota Timberwolves has topped 30 points in five of his last six appearances, a stretch that’s witnessed Edwards average 34.0 per night on 53.6% shooting.
Edwards, still just 21 years old, had 44 points, five off his career high, Jan. 21 vs. Houston. He poured in 31 in the second of back-to-back games against the Rockets then scored 37, 25, 34 and 33 points in succession, his latest in Minnesota’s overtime loss Monday to Sacramento.
Let’s take a brief pause so we’re not overwhelmed by the numbers.
Ant’s current scoring spree attached his name to two of the top bucket-getters in team history.
Edwards, Kevin Love and Karl-Anthony Towns have totaled 200+ points in a six-game span. That’s it. That’s the list. Yes, it’s missing Timberwolves all-time leading scorer Kevin Garnett.
Like we said, Edwards is scoring like a madman. His 204 points in less than a week’s worth of games is proof, and it supports the 2020 No. 1 overall pick’s case to play in the All-Star Game.
Time to analyze how his tear compares to Love and Towns.
First, Towns has four such stretches in his career – i.e. he’s recorded 200 or more points in a span of six games four times. Here’s the uncanny part: They overlapped, all occurring in 2019 between Feb. 13-March 12. Towns averaged 38.1 points on 59.4% shooting over that period.
That’s remarkable output for Towns, who was inactive for three games in the allotted duration.
(Note: Towns’ 212 points from Feb. 27-March 9 that season tops the Wolves’ leaderboard.)
Love did it thrice. The first instance happened in 2012 when he bagged 202 points March 19-28. That splurge was sparked by a 36-point effort and featured games of 51 and 40 points.
Love did it again – or rather two more times – in 2014, his final season in a Minnesota jersey. And like Towns, these stretches overlapped. From Feb. 1-19, Love reached 205 points, bookending his binge of baskets with 43- and 42-point acts. He had 206 points from Feb. 10-25.
Now, back to Edwards.
The alpha wolf, whose style of play draws comparisons to Michael Jordan on social platforms, has contributed 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in his past six.
Perhaps, the most impressive part of Edwards’ special scoring stretch, which features 75 field goals, is his efficiency behind the arc. Dating to his 44-point blastoff against the Rockets, Edwards has drained 30 3-pointers … via just 59 attempts. That equates to a lethal 51% clip.
Of the 18 NBA players who’ve experienced a comparable scoring stretch this season – 200+ points in six games – Edwards is one of four to knock down 30 3s. The others are Damian Lillard (38), Steph Curry (34) and Donovan Mitchell (31), aka experts in the art of sharpshooting.
Furthermore, Edwards easily is the youngest of the 18 – by precisely a year and 361 days. (Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant checks in as the second youngest to score 200+ in six games.)
The lone knock on Edwards since Jan. 21 is his propensity to feed defenses. He’s committed 29 turnovers, about five a night, during his six-game jaunt. Towns and Love never surpassed 19.
That’s OK because Edwards averaging 35 points and five turnovers is an acceptable tradeoff.
More evidence Ant belongs in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game
– No one in the Association has logged more minutes in 2022-23 than Edwards. His 1,937 total minutes edge the resumes of Phoenix forward Mikal Bridges (1,900), Knicks big Julius Randle (1,823), Boston superstar Jayson Tatum (1,798) and Dallas veteran Spencer Dinwiddie (1,740).
– Edwards has capitalized on his opportunity to lead the Timberwolves in the absence of Towns. In 32 games since KAT injured his right calf Nov. 28, Edwards has netted 25+ points 22 times. He’s having a career year across the board, with personal bests in points (24.9), rebounds (6.1), assists (4.5), steals (1.7) and blocks (0.6) per game. All the while sinking 46.5% of his shots.
– Ant plays the game the right way – with passion, contagious energy, relentless activity on both ends and an enormous grin on his face. He’s yet to miss a single game this season, by the way.