ATHENS — Anthony ‘Antman’ Edwards said the biggest life lesson he’s learned, in all of his 19 years of life, is to smile, no matter how things are going.
It wasn’t hard for the former Georgia star and Atlanta High School standout to apply that wisdom on Wednesday night when the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Edwards No. 1 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“It’s a blessing come true, to be from Atlanta and be the No. 1 pick, and go to Georgia and be Georgia’s first No. 1 pick, and be Coach (Tom) Crean’s first No. 1 pick,” Edwards said in his NBA Draft zoom call on Wednesday night.
“Everything is just a blessing, and there’s more to come, and I’m ready to get to work.”
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Edwards is in line for a four-year contract worth $43 million, per sportrac, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to earn it.
Edwards joins a Timberwolves roster that includes the No. 1 and No. 2 picks from the 2015 NBA Draft, Karl-Anthony Towns (6-11, 248) and D’Angelo Russell (6-4, 193).
“I feel like I’m going to fit perfect with those guys, because I know Russell likes to play off the ball sometimes and I can play on the ball, and when he wants to play on the ball, I can play off the ball,” Edwards said. “And KAT (Towns) is the best 3-point shooting big man in the league, so I feel like we can’t go wrong with that. A lot of pick and pops and pick and rolls.”
Edwards said he feels like Crean, who also coached NBA all-stars and first-round picks Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo, prepared him well.
“The things I take with me from playing for Coach Crean, No. 1, being able to watch film, and staying locked in,” Edwards said. “And probably the second best thing is being able to play without the ball, being able to cut, move, set screens and get other players open, and just being the best teammate I can be, ever.”
The Timberwolves, 19-45 last season, became the 11th straight team to select a college freshman with the No. 1 overall pick.
The charismatic Edwards is ready to show Minnesota it made the right pick.
“I don’t feel too much pressure; I’ve got two superstars alongside me, so I’m not going to feel too much pressure,” said Edwards, who took his SEC stardom in stride last season in much the same fashion.
“I’m going to do what I always do, bring what I bring to the table, and impact the game other ways,” he said. “They already can score the ball, so defensively I’m going to impact the game, being the best guard rebounder on the team I can possibly be, and being locked in and doing whatever the coach needs me to be.”
Edwards said the player he’s most looking forward to playing against is former NBA MVP and 10-time All-Star Kevin Durant
“Because he’s the best player in the league,” Edwards said. “He’s 7 feet, un-guardable, can do everything a little guard can do, so that’s who I’m ready to play.”
Edwards explained how he has improved since playing is last game at Georgia last March in the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
“Once quarantine hit, once I declared for the draft, I was locked in on basketball,” Edwards said. “The main thing I changed was being able to hit constant shots, just catch and shoot. Everyone is in awe of what I can do off the dribble, but the question was my catching and shooting ability
“I feel like I have taken that to another level, but not as far as it an go.”
Edwards honored is late mother and grandmother during his NBA draft ceremony, with portraits of both of them beside him.
Anthony Edwards, 11-18-20