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Debate

Is Anthony Edwards' sacrifice for Durant a sign of true leadership or a missed opportunity for him?

In the last four Olympics, Team USA was successful in securing the gold medal consecutively in the men’s basketball category. Now, looking to secure their fifth medal at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, an NBA star-filled roster will be sent out for the same. From experienced Olympians like LeBron James and Kevin Durant to new blood like Tyrese Haliburton and Anthony Edwards, the team is composed of a diverse field of players. Just like everywhere else, seniority may end up taking the charge within the team. Fortunately, the Minnesota Timberwolves star is willing to accept this fact, though not too willingly.

A few hours ago, Star Tribune reporter Chris Hine took to his official X account to highlight the recent updates coming out of Team USA’s training camp in Vegas. According to him, 22-year-old Anthony Edwards has stated that, amongst a field of older and more experienced players, he must not expect to play as many games or minutes as he would want to. After all, given that the Men’s Basketball tournament is a 5×5 competition, not everyone selected may end up heading to the court. However, the player doesn’t seem to mind this, since he will be playing “alongside Hall of Famers.” Furthermore, he would be more than willing to follow the ‘alpha’ of the roster into battle, despite being the point man for the Timberwolves for the last few years. When questioned about who this ‘alpha’ was, the shooting guard did not shy away from giving his response.

“I think Kevin Durant. He better be. That’s who I came to see,” said Edwards. The young star mentioned Durant being the motivating factor that allowed him to join the Team USA roster. From the limited interaction they have had since the last few days, Edwards believes that the vibe between him and the 35-year-old is “dope”.

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Polls of the day

Polls 1 of 4

Do you think Anthony Edwards' sacrifice for Team USA will pay off in the Paris Olympics?

Absolutely

No way

Only if the team gels well

Depends on the competition

Do you think FIBA refs were biased against Team Bahamas?

Absolutely

No way

Maybe, but not sure

Refs are always biased

Do you think Noah Lyles can achieve his goal of winning four golds at the Olympics?

Absolutely

No way

Maybe, if he stays focused

Only time will tell

What do you think is the key to Oblique Seville's success?

His coach's guidance

Natural talent

Hard work and dedication

Support from his team

Ironically, Anthony Edwards’ statement comes barely a few hours after ESPN reported the player handing the ‘alpha’ tag to himself. When discussing his role with Team USA during a presser, he explicitly stated, “I’m still the number 1 option. I mean, you might all look at it differently. I don’t look at it differently.”

When asked if being the ‘Number 1’ option would bring an adjusting change when playing alongside other veterans, Edwards added, “I’ll just be myself. Shoot my shots, play defense and, you know, they got to fit in to play around me.”

There is no denying the fact that Anthony Edwards is one of the top scorers. After all, it was the combined contribution of him and Karl-Anthony Towns that was able to get the Timberwolves to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2004. The average score of 25.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists that he made in the regular season is a thing for the history books. Furthermore, the player has also seldom been short of confidence, a trait that further fuels his identity as ‘the next Michael Jordan.’

However, one shouldn’t forget that Anthony Edwards is part of a roster that not only has Kevin Durant but also LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, etc. Players who have been in the NBA for longer and carved their own identity as amongst the greatest basketball athletes of the modern generation.

Kevin Durant praised Anthony Edwards’ trash-talking skills and competitiveness: “It went to another level, playing against him”

It’s not every day that one gets to earn praise from Kevin Durant. Having been in the league for over 14 years with four separate franchises, the 35-year-old has come across several players of different ages and walks of life. However, despite his young age, Anthony Edwards’ prowess is enough to earn him the veteran’s respect.

During a recent presser, Kevin Durant took the people down memory lane back when his franchise, the Phoenix Suns, met the Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs. He highlighted Anthony Edwards often engaging in trash-talk with him and trying to put him off the game. Now, with both him and Edwards on the same team, Durant finds this trait quite useful.

“I respect that, that players who come out there and, you know, they say something and they’re going to prove it,” said the 35-year-old. “And that’s what he (Edwards) did in that series. He played his a** off. You gain so much respect. We always have respect for him, but it just went to another level, playing against him and seeing him compete.”

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The recent NBA tournament saw the Phoenix Suns reaching the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. With it being Kevin Durant’s first full season with the franchise, he went into the series with certain expectations. Unfortunately, the Suns got eliminated from the first round itself by a 0-4 record. Despite this, Anthony Edwards was clear that Kevin Durant was the ‘alpha’ for him. By building a partnership based on mutual respect, the duo can go forth and secure the gold medal for good.

How do you think the Olympics will turn out for the team? Let us know in the comments below.

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Before leaving, be sure to check out some insights that Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-agent, Leonard Armato, shared about the Lakers legend’s infamous feud with the late Kobe Bryant.