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Can Anthony Edwards lead Team USA to gold in Paris 2024?

As Team USA readies itself to get that 17th Gold in the 2024 Paris Olympics, let’s take a look at one of the clear Alphas of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Anthony Edwards came into the league as a highly touted prospect and suffice it to say that the then-19-year-old made good on his word. From the moment he stepped foot on the NBA court, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been better. And in the 2023-24, the Wolves attacked, demolishing the Western Conference in unprecedented ways!

Nobody was ready for the “Ant-Man” and his squad. But Edwards did not limit his proficiency and leadership skills to Minnesota. When the 2023 FIBA came knocking, the 22-year-old rose to the occasion, leading Team USA to fourth place overall, automatically qualifying them for the 2024 Paris Olympics. In fact, this was what Team USA coach, Steve Kerr, had to say of Anthony Edwards after their five-game exhibition match in Abu Dhabi.

“He’s unquestionably the guy. You can see he knows it. But now the team knows it, and I think the fans see it. But we see it in practice every day. He genuinely believes he’s the best player in the gym every single night. And he’s such a dynamic young player. I think he’s taking a leap.” In their final warmup game against Germany before the previous World Cup, Edwards led all players with 34 points, going 11-of-21 from the field and 3-of-7 from downtown, and a neat 8-of-8 from the charity stripe.

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Up until their previous opponent, Spain, the US did not find themselves challenged by Puerto Rico or Slovenia in 2023. They were both early victories. However, when the eventual champion, Germany, arrived, it was a completely different atmosphere. Team USA suddenly found themselves looking at each other, wondering who would step up and take the lead. They played against each other again in the Semifinal and even though the US lost, that was when Anthony Edwards led the scoring with a 23-point haul!

Poll of the day

Is Anthony Edwards the key to Team USA's success in the Paris Olympics 2024?

Absolutely

Maybe

Not sure

No way

From therein, it was watching ANT rallying his troops to take out their opponents.

Anthony Edwards – Team USA’s X factor in the 2023 FIBA World Cup

Beginning with the exhibition matchups, “Ant-Man” started every game until their ultimate fall to Canada. Edwards’ highest score came when they faced Lithuania. The 2x All-Star scored 35 points, three shy of the leading scorer in both FIBA and Olympics, Ant’s favorite, Kevin Durant. And funny enough, KD scored 38 points against the very same country (Lithuania) in the 2010 FIBA World Cup.

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In fact, after a phenomenal face-off against Jordan, Anthony Edwards had one of his iconic responses to Donatas Urbonas of Basket News, who asked which player among the current roster had the best chance of surpassing Durant. “He’s probably one of the greatest players, and that will be tough. But, I mean, I’m going to try,” ANT said, as the entire room lit up with laughter. He also received the TCL Player of the Year of the Game for this performance, as well.

Before this, Edwards had scored a team-high seven rebounds in Team USA’s game against New Zealand. Moving ahead, Anthony once again stepped up with 17 points (team-high, of course) in the second half to pull his team to a victory against Montenegro. He was awarded TCL Player of the Game for this performance, as well. For their final matchup against Canada, ANT played 37 minutes, landing 24 points, shooting 45% from the field, and draining 5 of his 8 free throws.

However, it wasn’t enough against a determined Canadian team. For his contributions, Edwards was named to the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup All-Star Five, joining Dennis Schröder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Luka Doncic. He was an alpha. Not just of his Minnesota pack, but any pack looking for a leader. And Anthony Edwards had made his case.

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The No. 1 pick of the 2020 NBA draft is just 22. And he practically has all the time to rise to superstardom. It really wouldn’t be a surprise if he and Victor Wembanyama turned out to be the Michael Jordan and LeBron James of the next generation!

Of course, the youngsters of now do not want to be the next anyone. And we certainly hope Edwards will reach a level where young hoopers will say, ‘I want to be Anthony Edwards’. For now, though, the 6’4 Georgia native has a Gold to win. And he is surrounded by the best of the veteran talents to do so.

Here’s to Team Avengers for the win!

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 Before you go, though, be sure to check this video of Leonard Armato’s take on the deadly duo, Shaq and Kobe. Don’t forget to check back in for more such updates from our ES Fancast!