When he made the All-Star Game last season, Anthony Edwards made it as an injury replacement. Before the league announced All-Star reserves Thursday, Edwards admitted he would like to be included on the original list.
"It doesn't matter more, it's just better than being like, somebody get hurt and they pick you," Edwards said after Wolves practice on Thursday.
Edwards got his wish, and he'll have some company at this season's All-Star Game in Indianapolis on Feb. 18 as Karl-Anthony Towns made it for the fourth time in his career.
The Wolves were promoting three candidates for the All-Star Game: Edwards, Towns and Rudy Gobert. With coaches voting on the seven reserve slots after fans, players and media voted on the starters, it was always going to be a long shot to get three Wolves in, even with them sitting atop the Western Conference at 34-14. That didn't prevent Edwards from making the case for it with some interesting logic at practice.
"Last year didn't Memphis have two players and they were No. 2, right?" Edwards said. "It's only right we should have one more because we are No. 1 in the West and they were No. 2 and had two."
But in the end, Gobert was the odd man out even though he anchors the No. 1 defense in the league. Towns got in during a season in which his true shooting percentage — which weighs three-pointers and free throws in its calculus — of 64% is higher than two of the three other seasons he made the All-Star team. He is shooting 52% overall, 44% from three-point range and 87% from the free-throw line.
Edwards is sixth in points per game among guards in the West at 25.5, and in selecting All-Stars, winning tends to matter. He likely became a shoo-in given the Wolves' No. 1 record in the West. Edwards likely became a lock with the Wolves being the top team in the Western Conference and the fact that he's the player opposing defenses look to stop first. The only question was if anyone would join him, and Towns is.
There's one other way the Wolves could have representation in the All-Star Game: coach Chris Finch and his coaching staff.
If the Wolves are No. 1 in the West when the league cutoff occurs for selections (and the team wasn't sure when that cutoff would be), Finch would be the All-Star Game coach for the Western Conference. Finch could still get in if the Nuggets finish first and the Wolves were second, because the Nuggets staff coached in last season's game and the league doesn't allow a repeat of coaching staffs.
"It'd be a heck of an honor for sure, for myself, for the organization," Finch said. "But it'd also be just like any other individual accolade. It's a reflection of the success the team's having, which is the most important thing right now."
Edwards said he'd be happy for Finch, and it would mean a lot to him to have Finch coach him there — and he'd want to watch Finch's postgame news conference concerning shot selection afterward.
"I would love to see his reaction after the game … to see how he handles the midranges and the [isolation] step-backs and stuff," Edwards said. "That should be fun."