Warriors' apparent lack of Edwards 2020 NBA draft interest resurfaces

Warriors' apparent lack of Edwards 2020 NBA draft interest resurfaces originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

As Anthony Edwards blossoms into a bona fide star on the league's biggest stage, his playoff prowess has some fans looking back on how teams viewed the Minnesota Timberwolves guard leading up to the 2020 NBA Draft.

And, unfortunately for Dub Nation, the Warriors' alleged pre-draft opinion hasn't aged well.

A 2020 report from Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has resurfaced online, where the insider, citing sources, relayed that the Warriors weren't a likely landing spot for Edwards if he fell to Golden State's No. 2 pick due to concerns about his "drive and enthusiasm for winning."

Edwards, of course, didn't drop in the draft despite these reported concerns and wound up in Minnesota as the No. 1 overall pick after averaging 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals during his freshman year at the University of Georgia.

And Golden State went with center James Wiseman at No. 2, whose Warriors career was derailed by injuries before he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons at the 2023 NBA trade deadline. But despite the Warriors' apparent concerns about Edwards, it's worth noting the Timberwolves weren't too confident either, reportedly trying to trade out of the No. 1 slot before the draft.

Now, as Wiseman tries to find his way in The Motor City, Edwards is averaging 33.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists for the Wolves across five 2024 playoff games. Minnesota, led by Edwards, swept the Phoenix Suns in the opening round and currently holds a one-game-to-none lead over the defending-champion Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.

And, ironically enough, Edwards admitted he might not be where he is today if it weren't for some criticism from Warriors coach Steve Kerr. After a pre-draft workout with Golden State, Kerr told Edwards he "wasn't working hard enough."

"[Kerr's] like, 'Man, you've got to see Steph [Curry], [Kevin Durant] and Klay [Thompson] work out,' " Edwards said. "They still was continuously telling me, 'You didn't work hard enough. If we had the No. 1 pick, we wouldn't take you.' And I was just like, 'Damn, that's crazy.' ...

"Me and my trainer [were] riding home after dinner and we're just talking like we got to pick it up. I don't know how, I don't know what we got to do, but we got to pick it up. After that, I became a madman at the gym."

That madman mentality certainly has paid off for Edwards, and he partly has Kerr -- and however the Warriors were feeling pre-draft -- to thank.

“I just went down and I said, ‘Can you go a little harder?’ ” Kerr recalled this past November of the moment. “[Edwards] kind of looked at me like, ‘Yeah, OK’ and they started going a little harder. We ended up going back there a couple weeks later and we went to dinner and he told me, ‘Hey, thanks for saying that. I didn’t realize how hard I needed to work or what I needed to show.’ "

Now, Edwards and Kerr will look to recreate some of those learning lessons as the Team USA coach and Timberwolves star link up in the Paris Olympics. But first, Edwards certainly hopes to bring home his first NBA title and prove any other doubters wrong about his winning ways.

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