Skip to Content

Anthony Edwards Did Not Expect To Jump That High

Anthony Edwards blocks a shot spectacularly

Anthony Edwards woke up this morning sore in at least two places, due to the beginning and end of the Minnesota Timberwolves' win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night. Seven seconds into the game, Edwards rolled his left ankle on a drive and spent the rest of the possession hopping around in pain. He was subbed out immediately. That ankle roll is a pain familiar to us plebes. It sucks.

Less familiar is the pain Edwards experienced in the last seconds of regulation, the result of smashing his head against the rim and backboard while making a game-saving block. What a testament to human ingenuity to even be in a position to fuck yourself up in that fashion.

"I hit my head, I think, on the rim. It's hurting real bad," Edwards said right after safeguarding the 113-111 win. "I saw [Pacer forward Aaron Nesmith] with the lane, I knew he was going for a layup, and I was just like, 'I'm finna go get this.' I ain't ever jumped that high in my life."

Edwards is already one of the most vertically gifted players in the league, so the highest jump of his life would be noteworthy in any history of NBA jumps. He looked like he was still going up when he collided with the hoop, his defensive labor already done. Nesmith lay on the ground by then, his transition layup comprehensively deleted. Edwards didn't just graze the ball to alter its path; he was high enough in the air to smack it down with the meat of his palm.

In between his initial ankle roll and his climactic head injury, Edwards also put up 44 points on 35 shots. He's a regular aeronaut who takes some brutal falls, but he offsets that with what is by all accounts an astonishing tolerance for pain. It's a sight so common in Wolves games that Wolves beat reporter Jon Krawczynski assembled a whole lede about it last week: Edwards falls down in what seems to be catastrophic pain, then returns to the court and keeps hooping as if nothing happened. "He gets me every time,” Rudy Gobert told The Athletic. “Every time, I’m like, ‘Damn.’ And then I come into the treatment room, and he’s tying his shoes and getting ready to come back.”

After that ankle roll last night, Edwards was back on the court after just three minutes of game time had elapsed. He proceeded to lead an otherwise juiceless Wolves offense to victory on the same day that Karl-Anthony Towns was ruled out for at least a month with a meniscus injury. Edwards scored 16 points in the last quarter, including the team's last eight, keeping the Wolves just a hair ahead after a Pacers comeback.

The highlights are always spectacular, but watching Edwards over the course of full games will also reveal some frustrating tendencies. At some point in the near future he'll almost certainly be the best two-guard in the NBA, but right now he's still just 22, and not yet the sort of player that can be entrusted to steer the offense every possession without stress. His passing isn't terribly accurate and the shot selection can go bonkers at times. Not in the normal way, either.

Most players with dubious shot selection are infuriating because they attempt shots they're not equipped to make. Edwards, though, is so balanced, quick, and strong that no shot actually seems to lie outside his capacity. Because of this, there's not all that much on a basketball court, on either end, that isn't at least worth his trying. It's an approach that occasionally opens up brilliance like that brazen game-saving block. Edwards also sunk all kinds of shots in the final stretch of this game: stop-on-a-dime mid-rangers, a baseline drive into a Eurostep finish, a deep pull-up three, a fading one-legged floater. In dire times there is a certain luxury in having a star player with no scruples or self-doubt. On Thursday, a tired and Towns-less Wolves squad needed Edwards to cook, and he obliged. He got his team a win that let them hold onto the top slot in the Western Conference, even if he gave himself a headache.

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter