After the Timberwolves lost in Atlanta on Monday, rookie Anthony Edwards — the top pick in the 2021 draft — expressed frustration at not getting calls when he attacks the rim. He felt he was getting fouled consistently without officials blowing the whistle.
Wolves coach Ryan Saunders said he understands Edwards' frustration and knows how hard it can be for first-year players in the NBA, with some dues expected to be paid.
But: Before the Wolves' game with Orlando on Wednesday at Target Center, Saunders said Edwards has to play through it — both figuratively and literally — when it comes to attacking the rim.
"He naturally plays with force," Saunders said of Edwards, who was 1-for-14 in the two games leading into the game in Atlanta. Against the Hawks he scored 12 points on 5-for-16 shooting but saw his minutes rise because Saunders liked what he was seeing as far as Edwards not getting discouraged.
"The way he brings the basketball up, going from low to high, to his finishing motion, he naturally plays with force," Saunders said. "He's somebody who gets a lot of attention around the basket. But no matter what happens, you have to play through it. Good or bad. I just told him to go up and dunk it."
What Saunders doesn't want is for Edwards to start avoiding contact, settling for jumpers.
"Just because something isn't going your way, you can't stop going through the process of doing what's right," he said. "He understands that."
After the Atlanta game Edwards said he felt he was getting fouled just about every time he went to the rim but that he hasn't done much talking with officials about it.
The game, Saunders said, will continue to slow down for Edwards.
"Some nights will be better than others for him," Saunders said.
Edwarts went 3-for-14 again Wednesday night and shot only two free throws.
Rookie Jaden McDaniels had the best game of the season Wednesday.
Playing 26 minutes, he made five of nine shots, hit two of his four three-point attempts, had eight rebounds and three blocks. All were career highs.
He was also a plus-19, best on the team.
"It's just staying ready, because [Saunders] could call my name at any second. Just staying ready," McDaniels said.