The Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday made University of Georgia standout Anthony Edwards the first overall selection in the COVID-19 pandemic-delayed NBA draft.
The Timberwolves, who finished 19-45 in the coronavirus-disrupted season, opted for Edwards, who averaged 19 points per game as a freshman, to bolster a roster that includes young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.
“I feel like I’m going to fit perfect with those guys, because Russell likes to play off the ball sometimes, and I can play on the ball,” Edwards said in a virtual news conference from his home in Georgia. “When he wants to play on the rock, I can play off the ball. And KAT [Towns] is the best three-point shooting big man in the league. So I feel we can’t go wrong with that, a lot of pick-and-pops, pick-and-rolls and such.”
The Golden State Warriors took center James Wiseman with the second overall pick and the Charlotte Hornets — owned by NBA icon Michael Jordan — made guard LaMelo Ball the third selection.
Edwards, a 1.96m, 99.8kg guard from Atlanta who spent his lone collegiate season at Georgia, joins a young Timberwolves core led by star center Towns and point guard Russell.
Edwards led all Division I freshmen with 19.1 points per game and was the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year.
The draft comes five months after it was originally scheduled in June, and barely four weeks after LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the NBA Finals.
It also comes just five weeks before the next season tips off on Dec. 22.
That means the NBA’s newest top recruits face being thrown in at the deep end after an unprecedented last leg of their journey to the league.
“It makes for a lot of unknowns,” Golden State general manager Bob Myers said of a year that saw the influential “March Madness” collegiate tournament canceled and chances for NBA hopefuls to showcase their talent curtailed.
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