Jamal CollierESPNSep 28, 2023 5:59pm ET3 minutes read
MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards received high praise from Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr during their time together with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup this summer, but Edwards announced Thursday afternoon that was not always the case.
Edwards recalled meeting Kerr for his workout leading up to the 2020 NBA Draft – where the Timberwolves made him the No. 1 overall pick – and being told by Kerr during the workout that he “didn’t work hard enough.” have.
“I thought I was going to work hard,” Edwards said Thursday at the Timberwolves’ media day. “When he came, I was doing exercises and he kept stopping me saying, ‘Is that all you have? That’s all you have?’ And I’m like, ‘Bruh, I’ll try as hard as you want me to. What should I do? I’m sweating like crazy.’”
Later that evening, Edwards met with Kerr and Bob Myers, then Warriors team president, for dinner, where they repeated the same message, telling Edwards that they would not have drafted him if they had the No. 1 overall pick would have.
Golden State ultimately selected James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick in that draft.
“He was like, ‘Man, you gotta see Steph.’ [Curry]KD and Klay [Thompson] “I’ve been training,” Edwards said. “They still told me, ‘You didn’t work hard enough.’ If we had No. 1 we wouldn’t take you.’ And I was like, ‘Damn, this is crazy.'”
Although Edwards recalled being surprised that his work ethic was being questioned, he also recognized that Kerr was right.
Anthony Edwards had an impressive summer for Team USA at the World Cup despite a disappointing finish. Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
“My coach and I drove home after dinner and were just talking like we had to move on,” Edwards said. “I don’t know how, I don’t know what to do, but we have to do it. After that, I became a crazy person in the gym.”
Three years later, as Team USA coach, Kerr had a very different opinion as he watched Edwards show his potential as the No. 1 option.
Minnesota’s third-year guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in eight games this summer – despite a disappointing fourth-place finish for Team USA – and contributed to that with some strong defensive efforts.
“He’s the guy, hands down,” Kerr said after Edwards dropped 34 points in an exhibition win over Germany. “You can see that he knows it. But now the team knows it and I think the fans see it.”
“He truly believes he is the best player in the gym every night. And he is such a dynamic young player. I think he’s taking a leap.”
Edwards said he and Kerr talked over the summer about the pre-draft meeting a few years ago, in which Edwards credited Kerr with changing his work habits.
“They played a big role in where I am today because they explained that to me early on,” Edwards said.
It’s been a strong 12 months for 22-year-old Edwards, who made his first All-Star team in 2022/23, coupled with a strong performance on the international stage and the signing of a new maximum contract extension worth up to 260 million U.S. dollar.
All of this has raised expectations for Edwards as he enters his fourth season.
“I need my teammates to do that,” Edwards said. “I can’t do anything without my teammates. As long as we go out as a group of five, whoever is on the court, we come together and win and I do what I do individually, I think whatever the next step is, people expect me to take it. I’ll take it, but it has to be with my teammates.”