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Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards smothers Russell Westbrook’s drive attempt

Anthony Edwards, Russell Westbrook, Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards’ unreal athleticism also translates to the defensive end, something Russell Westbrook found out at Capital One Arena on Saturday. In the first half of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ road game against the Washington Wizards, Brodie blew by last year’s top overall pick and went straight to the cup for one of his patented strong drives.

Westbrook, of course, is used to finishing over his defenders and did not expect to get quite the challenge from the Wolves rookie. Anthony Edwards timed Westbrook’s attempt perfectly, swatting the lay-up attempt off the backboard and igniting a fast break for his team on the other end. Here’s the brilliant defensive stop.

Anthony Edwards, who already submitted a Dunk of the Year entry over Yuta Watanabe earlier this month, also tried to do the same thing to Wizards center Robin Lopez in this game. While the 6-foot-4 high-leaper failed to dunk the ball, he still finished up-and-over the 7-foot slotman.

Anthony Edwards is still trying to figure out how to maximize his unreal athleticism to the fullest in his first year as a pro. Still, the 19-year-old does offer a glimpse of possible superstardom with high-wire acts such as these two breathtaking plays. Prior to Saturday’s game versus the Wizards, Edwards has been climbing up the Rookie Ladder with impressive stats of 14.3 points on 37 percent shooting from the field in 33 games so far.

Anthony Edwards was met with plenty of doubts entering the NBA draft and then his rookie season. There were questions about his level of motivation, and analysts questioned his commitment at the defensive end of the floor. Was he going to be a fully invested player who spilled his guts on every possession and delivered consistent effort, or would Edwards drift in and out of games and look for his offense at the expense of his defense?

When seeing plays such as this one against a gifted and proven player such as Russell Westbrook, it becomes easier to see why Anthony Edwards was picked No. 1… and harder to see Minnesota’s brilliant young rookie failing.