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Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards has looked a lot like Michael Jordan, and it's OK to say that

The 3-pointer from the wing right in a defender鈥檚 face to open the game. The 10-foot mid-range jumper from the dotted circle in the paint for the and-1. The 15-foot turnaround jumper from the free throw line. The back-the-defender down fadeaway and the driving layup late in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

After four quarters of high-level playoff basketball between Minnesota and Denver, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards produced a playoff-career high 43 points on a masterful 17-for-29 shooting performance in a in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series.

Edwards also had seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal, and whether it was a whisper in one corner or a scream from elsewhere, the Edwards鈥 performance had people thinking.

That looked a lot like *deep breath* Michael Jordan.

And that is a statement that generates a reaction.

Those who watched and know 1980s and 1990s basketball and followed Jordan鈥檚 career at the very least understand that sentiment. Edwards dominated Game 1 the way Jordan dominated a playoff game.

And it鈥檚 OK to say that. No one is saying Edwards is the next Jordan. Old heads consider that sacrilegious, and besides, no one is going to be the next Jordan or the next Magic or the next LeBron or even the next Jokic.

Those players are who they are because of what they did, when they did it and how they did it 鈥 all circumstances unique to that player. Even Kobe was Jordan-esque in certain ways but ultimately he was Kobe, influencing the game and other players and creating a legacy that was distinctly his.

But there鈥檚 nothing wrong with a comparison. It gives us a frame of reference. Comparisons aren鈥檛 always the thief of joy. Did you watch Edwards鈥 performance against Denver? It had elements of Jordan, and it was special.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center.

That鈥檚 not saying Edwards is one of the next greatest players ever. It鈥檚 saying he has the talent and ability with that kind of potential, especially what we鈥檝e seen from a player in his fourth NBA season. He is reaching levels at an age that is impressive and portends favorably.

Edwards joined Kobe Bryant as the only players 22 or younger to score at least 40 points in consecutive playoff games, and Edwards became the 10th player to score 35 or more points in three consecutive road games in one postseason.

During the regular season, he averaged 25.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists and shot 46.1% from the field, 35.7% on 3s and 83.6% on free throws. He is a go-to option with a heart-stealing mindset. He made his second All-Star team and is headed for his first All-NBA selection this season.

As the NBA transitions from an era of James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, Edwards and San Antonio鈥檚 Victor Wembanyama are marketable personalities. The next faces of the NBA.

Edwards has work to do, and he鈥檚 still early in his career. He has a long way to go before proclamations become gospel.

However, it is possible to appreciate and recognize what Edwards is doing and consider how it resembles what other greats have done.

In the end, Anthony Edwards is the next Anthony Edwards 鈥 whatever that becomes.

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