The Warriors didn’t think Anthony Edwards worked hard enough in his workouts before the 2020 NBA Draft. Now he’s worked his way into being a superstar.
A great anecdote from Anthony Edwards…— Phil Mackey (@PhilMackey) September 28, 2023
Steve Kerr was the first coach to tell him he wasn’t working hard enough in pre-draft workouts.
Kerr told him, “You should see Steph and KD and Klay work out. If we had No. 1 pick we wouldn’t take you.”
So, Ant started working harder.…
“I thought I was working hard. When he came, I was going through drills and he kept stopping them, like, ‘That’s all you got? That’s all you got?’ And I’m like, ‘Bruh, I’m going hard as you want me to go. What you want me to do? I’m sweating crazy.’”
Then the Warriors took Edwards to dinner and let him know that even if they had the No. 1 pick, they wouldn’t have selected him, since he “didn’t work hard enough.”
Golden State’s scouting might be questionable. After all, they took James Wiseman with the second pick, one ahead of All-Star LaMelo Ball and ten ahead of All-Star Tyrese Haliburton. But their approach certainly motivated Edwards.
“Me and my trainer riding home after dinner and we’re just talking like we got to pick it up,” Edwards said. “I don’t know how, I don’t know what we got to do, but we got to pick it up. After that. I became a madman at the gym.”
There’s no hard feelings between Kerr and Edwards, who thrived playing for the Warriors coach at the FIBA World Cup this summer. As for the criticism, Edwards said, “They played a huge role in where I am today.”
Where he is today is a 22-year-old budding superstar who just signed a maximum rookie extension with Minnesota. As Kerr says, he’s “unquestionably the guy.”
Edwards’ stellar performance at the World Cup may have also been motivated by Kerr challenging him. Originally, Edwards was supposed to come off the bench for Team USA while Cameron Johnson started. Kerr told Edwards he envisioned a role similar to the one Dwyane Wade played for the 2008 Redeem Team, coming off the bench while Kobe Bryant started.
The young Timberwolf wasn’t having it, telling The Athletic, “He said Dwyane Wade came off the bench when Kobe played. I was like, all right, we don’t have a Kobe, but all right.”
By Team USA’s second scrimmage, Edwards was in the starting lineup. And he was working very hard in practice.