Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said Wednesday that Anthony Edwards has grown.
By that, Finch didn't only mean Edwards is improving his game. He meant the 20-year-old guard has actually gotten taller from the time the Wolves drafted him in November, from around 6-4 to approximately 6-6.
"This is a very Ant thing," Finch said at the Star Tribune booth at the Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday. "He told me, 'Don't let me get to 6-6 or I'll be Michael Jordan.'"
Jordan was also 6-6.
There are two consequences of Edwards' late growth spurt, Finch said. The Wolves might feel more comfortable using Edwards as an undersized power forward in certain lineups, and they hope it helps Edwards rebound better, a goal the Wolves outlined for him this offseason.
Edwards averaged 4.7 rebounds last season, but increased that to 5.4 in his last 20 games after the Wolves put a greater emphasis on that statistic for him.
"He's an extremely unique player and has all this raw ability, but he's very literal when you coach him. Like I say to him, 'I need you to go out and do X,' he'll do it," Finch said. "We discovered in the last part of the season [when I'd tell him], 'I need you to get seven rebounds tonight.' We gave him goals almost every game or every period of time, so you give him stuff to focus on and he went out and did that."
Finch said the Wolves have also asked Edwards to improve things he's "already really good at," such as finishing and three-point shooting. A large chunk of their defensive work will happen in coming weeks.
"The defensive stuff we'll work on when we get back together during the season because that's more conceptually based," Finch said.
Welcoming Beverley, Prince
Finch is already familiar with Patrick Beverley, one of the Wolves' acquisitions this offseason. The 33-year-old guard was in Houston's organization when Finch was an assistant there. Finch said Beverley will help the Wolves develop a defensive identity.
"He's going to bring a lot of toughness, tenacious defense," Finch said. "It gives our defense a bit of a personality. Defenses are always best when they start on the ball with the type of approach and aggressiveness he brings. I think one of the most encouraging things about bringing Patrick here is not how excited we are he's coming, but he's really excited. He knows he's exactly the type of piece we need."
Finch also said they hope they can get 27-year-old Taurean Prince, who came in a trade from Cleveland for Ricky Rubio, back to "his basketball."
What does that look like?
"Being a highly impactful two-way player" Finch said. "Defensively he has the ability to switch, guard multiple guys in multiple situations. Play in transition and also make spot threes. His three-point shooting has been inconsistent, but we feel with the right shots he can get back to being an above-average and highly effective three-point shooter."
Prince is a career 37% three-point shooter. He shot 40% last season but took almost three fewer threes per game (3.8) than he took two seasons ago (6.7), when he shot 34%.
Turner joining the bench
The Wolves made a number of staff announcements Tuesday. Among them was Elston Turner, who will be one of Finch's assistants this season. Finch is familiar with Turner from their time in Houston, and Turner will help run the defense.
"His way with the players is very effective," Finch said. "He has a calming influence and he can hold them accountable. He understands what it takes to be an NBA player."