MEMPHIS — Minnesota Timberwolves rising young star Anthony Edwards is ready for his postseason close-up.
After going off for a game-high 36 points to lead his team to a Game 1 opening-round victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday — becoming the fourth player under 21 years of age to score at least 36 points in a playoff debut — Edwards said he’s going to use this elevated platform to show up and show out.
“I think it’s very important to play at my best because they hide me during the regular season as far as no national TV games,” Edwards told Yahoo Sports after the 130-117 win. “So, people don’t really get to see me play unless I have an enormous game where I score 40-something or hit a game-winning shot or I get a huge dunk. I feel like games like this, I have to take advantage of because it’s the only time I get to be on TV so I’m trying to showcase my talent and everything I can do.
“I want the world to know I’m a great person. I’m always smiling, trying to light up the room and I want to see everybody be successful.”
The 2020 No. 1 draft pick had his full game on display from highlighting his athleticism, his shot creation and, most important, his poise as he was 12-of-23 from the field and 4-of-11 from distance to go with six assists and two blocks in 40 minutes.
Minnesota has two All-Star players in Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, but it was notably Edwards’ number that was called when the team was in need of a basket.
For the 20-year-old, he said this is the stage where the great ones perform and reiterated that he’s built for this.
“I put the work in every day and I feel like these type of performances are just in me,” Edwards told Yahoo Sports. “There is no nervousness at all.”
This Western Conference matchup is expected to be one of the more competitive series in the postseason, and it’s a bout that could go the distance.
But many anticipated the No. 2-seeded Grizzlies to advance past the No. 7-seeded Timberwolves.
“Nah, we don’t care about the predictions because we weren’t supposed to be here. They got the right pick. They’re picking Memphis,” Edwards told Yahoo Sports. “We’re just going to go to battle, man. We don’t care what they say. We’re going to go out there with our 15 versus their 15, our head coach versus their head coach and see who comes out on top.”
Edwards made history in Game 1, but now he’s looking onward.
“I feel like my performance speaks volumes, but it’s more to come. I’m ready to play on Tuesday,” Edwards told Yahoo Sports.