MINNEAPOLIS - With the No. 1 pick in Wednesday night’s NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves opted to keep the pick and take who they thought was the best player among the prospects.
The Wolves selected Georgia wing/guard Anthony Edwards. A 6-5, 225-pound combo player, Edwards averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 40.2 percent from the field. He’s an athletic freak who can serve as the No. 3 player to Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, and won’t necessarily be asked to be a star from Day 1.
Edwards sat by his mother and grandmother when his NBA dream became a reality.
"I’m feeling very joyful and excited just because of the fact that I had my mother and grandmother next to me. I feel like I’m going to fit perfectly with those guys, because I know Russell likes to play off the ball sometimes, and when he wants to play on the ball, I can play off the ball. KAT is the best three-point shooting big man in the league, so I feel like we can’t go wrong with that," Edwards said.
“We look forward to welcoming Anthony to the Timberwolves family as this year’s number one draft selection,” said President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas in a statement. “We are excited to add this young talent to our roster and continue his development to make him the best player he can be as he joins All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns and All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell here in Minneapolis.”
The Wolves opted for Edwards over LaMelo Ball, who played professionally last year in Australia, and Memphis center James Wiseman. The three are considered the top prospects in this year's draft.
Wolves front office head Gersson Rosas said earlier this week the decision they make at No. 1 isn’t for Day 1, it’s for Day 400. The Wolves finished 19-45 last year, and have made the playoffs once since Kevin Garnett led them to the Western Conference Finals in 2004.
"I just know they love to compete. The first time they met with me, they had everything mapped out. They had a game plan, they had everything for me," Edwards said. "They love players who are going to come in and compete, they love players who are going to leave it all on the court. They just want you to come in and just be ready. I feel like I’m one of those players and I’m just ready to work."
Rosas said earlier this week he had plenty of interest for the pick, and they fielded calls for the No. 1 pick right up until the start of the draft. But in the end, they decided to keep it and invest in a player they feel can help them long term.
The Wolves traded the No. 17 pick in the first round to the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring Ricky Rubio back to Minnesota, and also acquired the No. 25 and No. 28 picks in the process.
Wolves trade for Argentinian guard Leandro Bolmaro
The Timberwolves weren't done after drafting Edwards and trading for Rubio. The Wolves acquired Argentinian guard Leandro Bolmaro from the New York Knicks Wednesday night, in exchange for the No. 25 and No. 33 picks.
With the No. 28 pick in the first round that was in the deal to get Rubio, the Wolves selected forward Jaden McDaniels out of the University of Washington. McDaniels averaged 13 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 40.2 percent from the field.