Anthony Edwards is ready to make an MVP-caliber leap in 2023-24.
Anthony Edwards has been one of the most exciting young guards in the NBA every season he’s been in the league (3). He’s managed to improve noticeably each year in multiple different ways. And after last season where Edwards became a first-time All-Star in Year 3, all signs point to Ant taking that next monumental step in the fall.
What makes Anthony Edwards so special?
Anthony Edwards is about as skilled as it comes in the NBA. He’s got high-flying athleticism, a crossover that kills, and an elite pull-up jump shot. Plus, the strong frame to set the foundation at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. But the thing that makes me sure Antman will take that next step, is his drive and willingness to win.
All the greats in the NBA had that killer edge; guys like Kobe, Jordan, and LeBron. Anthony Edwards looks to have that too. In fact, many have compared him to a baby Michael Jordan and I see why. Ant puts it all on the floor every night, and he does everything to help his team win. Whether that’s scoring 45 points, getting that crucial defensive stop, or even getting 10 assists and letting his teammates do the work.
You can tell Anthony Edwards genuinely loves to play the game of basketball.
You can see it. He always plays with a smile on his face, he lets out his emotion on the court, and he just lives the game. This isn’t something that people always thought was the case though. In Ant’s pre-draft process in 2020, reports were coming out that he didn’t like basketball that much, and that he had issues with drive. These rumors were firmly erased after the start of his second year at the latest, but Edwards has definitely grown a lot, regardless if those rumblings were true at the time.
In the 2023 season, Ant really put all his drive and love for the game together into a complete year. He did start off slow, but it didn’t last long. The main areas he improved were his playmaking and defense.
Throughout Edwards’ first two years, he didn’t do much playmaking. At times he forced shots and didn’t make the right reads. This year he took a significant leap in that department. In spurts this year Ant was playing point guard and doing it well, averaging a career-high 4.4 assists per game.
I believe this improvement helped his scoring become more effective as well. When defenders see you will hit your teammates in their spots, it gets them focused on other things which opens up your scoring even more. And this seemed to be true, as Edwards’ assists went up this year, so did his points, to a career-high 24.6.
Ant’s defense also got better. On the ball, he made significant improvements and had multiple key stops down stretches of games. He’s not quite an All-NBA defender, but he’s close. And in terms of great 2-way players in the NBA, he’s top 5.
Another beautiful thing about Anthony Edwards is his durability. In Ant’s 3-year career, out of a possible 236 games, he’s only missed 13. That’s a rarity in today’s NBA considering it’s the age of load management.
Arguably the greatest part about Anthony Edwards’ game is how he rises in the playoffs. In 2022 (Edwards’ first year in the Play-In/Playoffs), Ant was fantastic. First against the Clippers in the Play-In, and in Round 1 against the Grizzlies, where he helped give Memphis all they could handle.
This past season, he took it a step further. Apart from one semi-poor Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, he went ballistic in this series averaging 31.6 points per game, challenging the eventual champions better than almost anyone else in those playoffs.
Moral of the story; Ant rises when it counts most.
Anthony Edwards is a generational talent and budding superstar, someone destined for greatness in the NBA. And this upcoming 2023-24 NBA season could be the start of his MVP-level dominance in the league for many years to come.