Anthony Edwards talks NBA draft plans, the election and friendship with Allen Iverson
We caught up with the Georgia star ahead of the draft
Anthony Edwards will soon find out his NBA future. He could potentially join forces with three-time NBA champions Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the Golden State Warriors, who own the No. 2 pick in the draft. He could also be drafted by Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets, who have the No. 3 pick.
But if it were up to Edwards, bring on the winter coat and the honor of being selected No. 1 by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Being the top pick would be exceptionally cool,” Edwards, 19, told The Undefeated in a phone interview. “Who doesn’t want to be the No. 1 pick? That’d be cooler than anything. … It would be a dream come true to be No. 1. But if that’s not a team that wants me, or if I’m not wanted there, then wherever I’m wanted, I’m happy with that. …
“I don’t really care where I get drafted to. If you want to draft me and you are ready to take a chance on me, then I’m ready to give you my all.”
Edwards is a candidate for the No. 1 selection in this year’s draft, which will be held virtually on Nov. 18 at ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32 games as a freshman with Georgia last season. ESPN.com currently projects Edwards going third in the draft behind point guard LaMelo Ball and big man James Wiseman. Edwards has worked out with the Timberwolves, Warriors and Hornets (with Jordan in attendance) ahead of the draft.
He recently talked to The Undefeated about how life challenges have prepared him for the NBA, the advice he received from Allen Iverson and why it was important for him to vote in the election.
What are your plans for the virtual draft?
I’m going to wear something casual. I’ll probably wear a T-shirt. I don’t even know yet. Someone is going to make an outfit for me where the colors are going to be pink and peach. I’m just going to be in the house and wait for my name to be called.
It’s going to be different. It’s going to be a dream come true no matter what. I’m going to be excited. I don’t care where I get drafted or where my name is called. To have my name on the back of a jersey means a lot to me.
How do you reflect on your mother and your grandmother (who both died of cancer when he was in the eighth grade) as draft day approaches?
On draft day, it’s going to be a lot of them. They’re going to be in a draft with me. They’re going to be there on the camera with me. … I prefer not to say how.
What does their memory mean to you?
I feel like they built me for this. I wouldn’t be as humble or as quiet or giving my all if it weren’t for them. Seeing how much they worked, how much they did for us. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be who I am.
You come from humble beginnings in the Atlanta area. How much do you think about that now as you are on the verge of being paid millions to play in the NBA?
I don’t really think about what I’ve been through. I just tell myself I don’t want to go back. I just try not to think about it. Now, that’s why I’m in the gym every day and work hard. I don’t let nothing stop me because I don’t want to go back to where I was, or where I had been.
How do you reflect on your toughest days?
It’s in me. I have been through the worst of the worst. So, I can’t make it leave my mind, you know? I like it. I like what I’ve been through. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t go through tough times.
What have you been working on since the end of Georgia’s season? Have you been working on your 3-point shot?
I feel like the main thing I’ve been working on is my catch-and-shoot 3-point shots. I feel like my catch-and-shoot has improved tremendously. So, that’s what I’m going to be showing a lot next season when I get into the league. I haven’t really changed anything [in shooting form]. It’s just repetition.
What has been the best advice someone has given you during this process?
The only people that’ve probably given me advice are Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo. They told me to just go in there and make a name for yourself. That’s the main thing they told me. The mentality that I’m going in with is that I know everybody in the league and they don’t know me. But after my first year, I want them to know who I am. So, that’s my main goal.
How did you get connected with Iverson, and what have your conversations been like with him?
I was supposed to go to his basketball camp, but I never went. And we stayed connected even though I didn’t go to the camp. He loved my game. So, we just stay connected. He is in Atlanta all the time, and we always talk.
He just tells me to keep working. He is like, ‘The world is yours, young fella.’ And then he’s always like, ‘I love you, man. I love you.’
What was it like having Michael Jordan attend your workout for the Charlotte Hornets and what advice did he give you?
It was a surreal feeling to have MJ watching me work out in the gym where I learned to play basketball. I can’t even really put it into words. He gave me a lot of great tips on ways to be more efficient in the mid post, as well as a lot of tips on how to best prepare my mind and body for a long NBA season.
So, what convinced you to vote in the presidential election? What was that whole process like to you?
If African Americans don’t take it upon ourselves to vote, it’s a problem, because our ancestors paved the way for that. It was my first time being old enough to vote. So, I took it upon myself to go vote because I felt like it was needed. And we needed new people in the office.
What do you think about the impact that the state of Georgia, your state, is having on this election?
I feel like we had a huge impact, and we came together and made a decision. I thought we made a decision as a country.
Speaking of Georgia, it’s likely that you’re going to leave the state for the first time in your life full time. What are you looking forward to the most in terms of a new beginning, and what would you miss the most about Georgia?
I’m not going to miss anything. Probably my family. That’s about it. That’s the only thing I’m missing, my family.
I’m excited about just meeting my teammates, getting in the gym, working and just going out there and competing with the guys. And getting to know the coaching staff and the facilities very well.
Have you even been around snow? Are you ready for that if you’re picked by Minnesota?
I tell people all the time that I’m not going to play basketball in the snow. So, I’m not worried about it.
How do you deal with the pressure of living up to the expectations of a top pick?
I don’t really worry about expectations from people outside. I have expectations for myself. I feel that’s the only thing that matters. If I meet those expectations for myself, then that’s the only thing that matters to me.
For people that don’t know you, how would you describe yourself as a player and as a person?
As a player, I feel like I’m just a competitive person. I don’t like to lose. So, I feel like I’m never going to give up. I’m always going to go hard, and I’m going to give it my all.
And as a person, I’m just a cool person to be around. I’m a calm and collected individual. … Funny, chill. We can have fun.