Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards named to Team USA for Paris Olympics

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NBA superstars LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry all are bound for the Olympics this summer — James for the first time in 12 years, Curry for the first time ever.

So, too, is Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards.

He will do so after USA Basketball on Wednesday announced its 12-man roster that will go to Paris in July.

Edwards led a U.S. team with mostly young NBA stars to fourth place at last summer’s FIBA World Cup in Manila, Philippines. Now he and Indiana star Tyrese Haliburton are the only two players from that team that made the Olympic team.

They’ll play beside James, Durant, Curry, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Devin Booker, among others. It’s such a collection of talent that Canadian Olympic team member Kelly Olynyk said last weekend, “Your hope is that they haven’t played together before, other than the last 12 All-Star Games.”

Edwards said, “It’s going to mean a lot, it’s going to be super fun, seeing how those guys work every day on their craft because I feel like I work super hard on my craft every day. So seeing the GOATs work on their craft may show me I’m not working hard enough. That’s something I’m looking forward to.”

Wolves coach Chris Finch called Edwards’ inclusion “incredible.”

“We were all very proud and pleased that he was selected,” Finch said. “It’s going to be an incredible honor to represent in Paris, but also just to be around all those guys and getting to see those guys go about their business. All that stuff makes a great impression.”

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Edwards is the fourth Wolves player to make the U.S. Olympic team, following Christian Laettner (1992), Kevin Garnett (2000) and Kevin Love (2012). He was asked if he can crack the U.S. team’s starting five

“I’m a realist, man, so I know it’s probably not going to happen,” Edwards said. “It’s going to maybe be even hard for me to find minutes. I’m going to enjoy my time, enjoying working out alongside of them, enjoying being on the bench, clapping them on, cheering them on.

“If they need me, I’ll be out there ready to go.”

Better coaching

Saturday’s playoff opener against Phoenix is Wolves All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns’ third game back from knee surgery that sidelined him for more than a month.

Finch acknowledged he must do better getting Towns involved in the best-of-seven series.

“It’s going to be huge,” Finch said. “I think we have to find ways to get more out of him. I’ve got to do a better getting the ball in his hands. I didn’t do a good job of that on Sunday. He’s a huge piece for us and we’ve got to use him better.”

KAT, MVP? Edwards predicts it, if Finch does what he says.

“I see KAT being the MVP of the series if we win it because they’re going to put two and three [defenders] on me‚” Edwards said. “He’s the best player on the team. You put two and three on me and you leave the best player 1-on-1, that’s something we live for. He takes the responsibility on defense and if he does a great job, we’ll come out on top.”

Playoff-proven

Durant has played 166 games in 32 playoff series and averaged 29.4 points a game doing it. He also won two NBA titles with Golden State in 2017 and 2018.

This is a different time of year and he has lived it.

“I’ve watched the playoffs my whole life as a fan,” Durant said after Sunday’s game. “The intensity, I know about. The preparation, I knew about. Playing the same team four times, that’s no slouch. You have to prepare differently. I understood all that, but there’s nothing like actually being in it. You share that intensity, it molds you into who you are.”

Upon further review

Edwards guarded his boyhood hero Durant often during Sunday’s 125-106 season-finale home loss to the Suns.

“What makes it different from watching him when I was young is that he’s actually really that good,” Edwards said. “You’d be like, ‘Man, he ain’t that good. When I get there, I’ll shut him down.’ Then you get there and you’re like, ‘He is that good.'”

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