Edwards, 19, averaged 19.1 points (on 55/29/77 shooting splits), 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 33 minutes over 32 games at the University of Georgia this past season, capturing SEC Freshman of the Year honors. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound guard has drawn comparisons to Dwyane Wade and Donovan Mitchell.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Edwards said remotely on the ESPN broadcast, standing in front of paintings of his mother and grandmother. “I can’t even describe it. So many emotions. My family is emotional. I feel like when I get out of here I’m going to be emotional. It’s beyond measure to be in this situation.”
Edwards lost his mother and grandmother to cancer over an eight-month span in 2015. He wore No. 5 throughout his high school and college career to honor them, as both died on the fifth of the month.
Edwards was a five-star recruit coming out of Atlanta’s Holy Spirit Prep, where he averaged 25.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.2 combined blocks and steals per game as a high school senior in 2018-19.
He will join young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell on the Timberwolves. They face the tall task of restoring relevancy to a franchise that finished 19-45 and has made the playoffs once since 2004.
“I feel like I'm going to fit perfect with those guys, because Russell likes to play off the ball sometimes, and I can play on the ball,” Edwards said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday night. “When he wants to play on the rock, I can play off the ball. And KAT is the best three-point shooting big man in the league, so I feel we can’t go wrong with that — a lot of pick-and-pops, pick-and-rolls and such.”
Edwards said he is most looking forward to facing Kevin Durant, who he called the best player in the NBA.
The Golden State Warriors drafted 7-footer James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick. Wiseman averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks in 23 minutes over just three games as a freshman at the University of Memphis this past season. Wiseman left the school after a recruiting scandal earned him a suspension.
The Charlotte Hornets picked LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, with the No. 3 pick. The 6-foot-7 Ball averaged 17 points (38/25/72 splits), 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 31.2 minutes in only 12 games for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s National Basketball League.
2020 NBA draft first-round order
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, University of Georgia
2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, University of Memphis
3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawara Hawks (Australia)
4. Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State University
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn University
6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, C, University of Southern California
7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, PG, Ulm (Germany)
8. New York Knicks: Obi Toppin, PF, University of Dayton
9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
10. Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith, PF, University of Maryland
11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State University
12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State University
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Kira Lewis, PG, University of Alabama
14 Boston Celtics (from Memphis Grizzlies): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt University
15. Orlando Magic: Cole Anthony, PG, University of North Carolina
16. Detroit Pistons (from Portland Trail Blazers via Houston Rockets): Isaiah Stewart, C, University of Washington
17. Oklahoma City Thunder* (from Brooklyn Nets via Atlanta and Minnesota): Aleksej Pokusevski, C, Olympiacos Piraeus (Greece)
18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, SG, University of Arizona
19. Detroit Pistons*** (from Philadelphia 76ers via Los Angeles Clippers): Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova University
20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, PF, University of Memphis
21. Philadelphia 76ers (from OKC via Philadelphia and Orlando): Tyrese Maxey, SG, University of Kentucky
22. Denver Nuggets (from Houston): Zeke Nnaji, C, University of Arizona
23. Minnesota Timberwolves* (from Utah Jazz via New York): Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona (Spain)
24. Denver Nuggets**** (from Indiana via Milwaukee and New Orleans) : R.J. Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers (NBL)
25. New York Knicks* (from Denver via OKC): Immanuel Quickley, SG, University of Kentucky
26. Boston Celtics: Payton Pritchard, PG, University of Oregon
27. Utah Jazz** (from L.A. Clippers via New York): Udoka Azubuike, C, University of Kansas
28. Minnesota Timberwolves* (from Los Angeles Lakers via OKC): Jaden McDaniels, PF, University of Washington
29. Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State University
30. Memphis Grizzlies***** (from Milwaukee Bucks via Phoenix and Boston): Desmond Bane, SF, Texas Christian Univesity
First round draft-night trades
* Timberwolves general manager Gersson Rosas completed three trades on the same night he drafted Edwards at No. 1. The final haul was Ricky Rubio and the Nos. 23 and 28 picks, Bolmaro and McDaniels.
Rosas sent the 17th pick he acquired at the deadline to Oklahoma City for Rubio and the Nos. 25 and 28 picks, per multiple reports. The Thunder acquired the 30-year-old point guard two days earlier in the deal that sent Chris Paul to Phoenix. Rubio played his first six NBA seasons for the Wolves. He will now be tasked with guiding a team built around Towns, Russell, Edwards and a host of other young prospects.
Rosas then flipped Nos. 25 and 33 picks to New York for the right to take Argentinian guard Bolmaro at No. 23. He used the No. 28 pick on McDaniels, a five-star recruit who struggled as a freshman at Washington.
The Knicks took Quickley, the SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore at Kentucky, with the No. 25 pick.
** Earlier in the night, the Jazz had dealt the No. 23 to New York for Nos. 27 and 38. Utah drafted Nigerian center Azubuike 27th and reportedly flipped the 38th pick with center Tony Bradley to the Pistons for cash.
*** The Clippers swapped one shooter for another in a three-team trade that netted Luke Kennard from the Pistons, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Detroit received the No. 19 pick and Rodney McGruder from L.A., and the Clips also sent Landry Shamet to Brooklyn. Both Kennard and Shamet are career 40.2 percent shooters from three-point range and project to be rotational players for a pair of title contenders.
**** New Orleans continued its stockpile of future draft assets, acquiring a lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick from Denver in exchange for this year’s 24th pick, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Zach Lowe. The Nuggets used the pick on Hampton, a five-star recruit whose stock fell in his lone season overseas.
***** With the first-round’s final pick, the Celtics reportedly dealt the pick they acquired from Phoenix (via Milwaukee) last year for two future second-round picks from the Grizzlies, who took the unheralded Bane.
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