Anthony Edwards: Steve Kerr's Predraft Workout Criticism Helped Me Take 'Next Step'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 6, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  APRIL 29: Anthony Edwards #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves talks to the media after Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2022 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors didn't have the opportunity to select Anthony Edwards with the No. 2 pick of the 2020 NBA draft because the Minnesota Timberwolves took him with the first pick, but his interaction with Golden State head coach Steve Kerr is still paying off for him.

In an interview on Jake's Takes, Edwards said his inability to complete a drill Kerr asked him to do during a predraft workout led to a different mindset:

"I couldn't do it. I'm too tired. I'm like, man, this s--t too much. But I'm not saying it, so I'm just jogging. And after the workout, Steve comes to me like, 'You can't go any faster?' I'm like, 'I thought I was going pretty fast.' He was like, he was like, 'Nah, do it again.' So I did it again. I'm going fast, I'm going fast. He stops me and like, 'You can't go faster than that?'"

Edwards then shared what Kerr told him:

"'If we gon' draft you at No. 2, you gotta be a hard worker. Like, you ain't working hard enough.' And I think, I think that was a stumble in the road for me. And I looked at it like, I called my trainer afterwards and was like, 'Ay bro, we gotta change, we gotta change it up.' ... Steve Kerr told me how Steph and KD used to work out super hard. It might not be long, but it's super hard when they in there. Ever since then is when I feel like I took that next step."

The Warriors drafted big man James Wiseman, which has not yet paid off. Wiseman has appeared in just 39 games across two seasons and hasn't played this season because of injuries. That stands in stark contrast to Edwards and LaMelo Ball, who went No. 3 overall to the Charlotte Hornets.

Ball won the Rookie of the Year Award and was an All-Star in his second season.

Edwards also seems to be on an All-Star trajectory after helping lead Minnesota to the playoffs while averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. He scored 30 or more points twice in six games as Minnesota lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.

Timberwolves fans may have to thank Kerr because the coach's words have stuck with the Georgia Bulldogs product two seasons into his NBA career.

It's not difficult to see why they would if Kerr was advocating for the prospect to work hard like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry do on a consistent basis. Curry and Durant are both future Hall of Famers who helped bring the Warriors multiple championship rings.

Curry is three victories away from the fourth title of his career after he and the Warriors tied the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at one game apiece with Sunday's win.

While Edwards may not reach that level in his career, he is one of the league's brightest young stars and owes some thanks to another team's coach for helping instill a better work ethic as he entered the NBA.