Timberwolves fans have popularized the phrase "It's Ant's team" this summer, confirming what has been obvious for eons: Anthony Edwards is the Wolves' most important player.
Turns out Wolves fans were aiming low.
This might not just be "Ant's Team." In terms of USA Basketball, this might be Ant's Country.
All the world was his stage on Sunday, when he scored 34 points to lead the USA to a comeback 99-91 victory over Germany during an exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
The last time we saw Edwards playing in the United States, he missed a late shot, sprinted off the court in Denver and flung a chair that hit a couple of arena workers after the Timberwolves were eliminated from the playoffs in April.
Isn't that a quintessential Timberwolves summary? It combines losing, losing in the playoffs and a player doing something regrettable.
Context matters, though, and Edwards performed brilliantly in that series against what proved to be easily the NBA's best team, his last-second shot was the result of the Wolves playing the Nuggets as tough as any team in the postseason, and Edwards' chair fling, while wrong, wasn't the assault it was originally described to be.
That series was more important than these Team USA exhibitions in proving that Edwards is ready to become a superstar. But because the Wolves lost, his efforts were obscured from the national consciousness.
Now we're seeing Edwards again, as part of Team USA — and the world is seeing him, too — and he is hinting at becoming an international superstar.
Not that long ago, former NBA player Gilbert Arena profanely described this Team USA roster as a "sorry … group," inserting what could have been a noun or an adjective between those words.
He was wrong. Edwards is the star of this team.
The observer who might have gotten closer to the truth was longtime Associated Press basketball writer Tim Reynolds, who covered the game on Sunday.
"Anthony Edwards will be an MVP candidate this year," Reynolds tweeted. (Or Xed.)
Team USA coach Steve Kerr said: "He's, unquestionably, the guy."
Former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett tweeted, "Ant Man in that conversation this year …"
Former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins tweeted: "Ladies and Gentlemen I think we may have found the FACE of the NBA!!! I believe his name is Anthony Edwards!"
Sunday, Edwards was the USA's best scorer and he played stellar defense.
He is 22, and he appears to be the leader of this team.
Not since Kevin Love shut down Pau Gasol in the Olympic gold medal game in London in 2012 has a Timberwolf played such a prominent role on Team USA. And Love was a role player who played his role well, not a star.
What was most impressive about Edwards on Sunday was his ability to score without plays being run for him. He scored in transition, sometimes by grabbing a rebound and creating his own shot. In the second quarter, Team USA looked disjointed and lacked offensive flow, with the team's primary ballhandlers barely looking at Edwards.
He scored 34 points not because of his team, but despite it.
In an earlier game, Edwards was heard admonishing Grizzlies star Jaren Jackson, the NBA's defensive player of the year, for not playing with more intensity on defense.
This is an intriguing reunion between Edwards and Kerr. When Edwards was visiting teams before the 2020 draft, Kerr told him he wasn't working hard enough. Kerr cited Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as players whose conditioning enabled them to excel.
Nobody's questioning Edwards' work ethic now.
He could be the NBA's Next Big Thing.
Are the Timberwolves Anthony Edwards' team?
It's a measure of his growth that you can say that. But he won't. He's been deferential to Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.
But when the Wolves need a basket or a lift this season, they'll usually look to their new international superstar.