It’s only the mid-point of the season, but Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards pretty much locked up the NBA Dunk of the Year when he posterized Yuta Watanabe from the Toronto Raptors.

Anthony Edwards rookie dunk of the year minnesota timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards elevates for a dunk against Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Image: David Sherman/Getty)

It’s been an ugly season and winter of discontent with the last-place Timberwolves. Edwards, the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, is the lone bright spot in an otherwise disastrous season.

Instead of everyone lamenting about Minnesota losing their 23rd game of the season and third-straight game, Edwards changed the conversation when he unleashed the Dunk of the Year.

“That’s probably the best dunk I’ve ever seen with my own eyes ever,” said teammate Jaden McDaniels.

“Due to the fact that we lost, it’s nothing to be excited about,” said Edwards.

For a half-second it looked like he would take a corner three, but instead he accelerated to the basket. No one stopped him, but poor Watanabe arrived too late before the rim-rocking dunk.

In the rough and tumble days of the NBA, like when Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason roamed the paint for the 1990s-era brutish New York Knicks, a rookie like Edwards would’ve been knocked to the floor, and then a trainer would spend an hour pulling out all the splinters in his face.

Edwards Shines for Last-Place T-Wolves

Minnesota owns the worst record in the NBA this season at 7-23. Their anemic offense averages 107.8 ppg and ranked #25 in the NBA. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s opponents have an easy time scoring 115.2 ppg against the seventh-worst defense in the league.

To compound their problems, the T-Wolves lost starting guard D’Angelo Russell for four to six weeks with a knee injury. They lost Karl-Anthony Towns earlier in the season when KAT went down with COVID-19.

Edwards got off to a slow start, but he’s shown steady improvement. He started in 12 out of 29 games this season and now averaging 14.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. He still needs to find his touch. He’s shooting 38.3% from the floor and only 31.9% from 3-point range. In February, he averaged 15.5 ppg and went north of 20 points in four different games.

Earlier in the week, Edwards scored a career-high 28 points against the LA Lakers. He knocked down five 3-pointers and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists for his best single performance of the season.

Since his big night against the Lakers, Edwards forgot how to shoot 3-pointers. He went a combined 0-for-11 clip in his last two games from 3-point land. He shot an atrocious 3-for-15 from the floor in a loss to the Indiana Pacers with just 8 points in an overtime game. The monster Dunk of the Year against the Raptors made up for his awful night in which Edwards shot 3-for-14, including 0-for-7 from downtown.

LaMelo Ball from the Charlotte Hornets is the favorite at -500 odds to win Rookie of the Year, according to DraftKings. Edwards is the third-highest rookie on the board at +1000 odds.