Five months later than it was originally scheduled, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards with the first pick of the 2020 NBA draft Wednesday night.
Edwards, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard from Atlanta who spent his lone collegiate season at Georgia, joins a young Timberwolves core led by star center Karl-Anthony Towns and point guard D’Angelo Russell. Edwards averaged 19.1 points per game and was the Southeastern Conference freshman of the year.
Edwards, center James Wiseman and guard LaMelo Ball were all, at different times, projected to be the top pick in this year’s draft. Edwards, however, was the best positional fit for Minnesota — Wiseman shares the same position as Towns and Ball shares the same position as Russell — and had separated himself among rival teams as the likely pick in the days leading up to Wednesday’s draft.
The draft was originally scheduled to take place in June, as it typically does, but was pushed back until after the NBA completed its season in a bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic also led to a change in venue for the draft. Rather than taking place in New York, as it typically does each June, it was instead held virtually at ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Connecticut, where NBA commissioner Adam Silver conducted the first round and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum the second as usual.
The delay in holding the draft because of the pandemic both allowed for more time than ever before for NBA teams to prepare for the draft, and also meant prospects have spent more time away from the court upon entering the NBA than they ever have.
As a result, rather than going from the draft to the NBA’s annual summer league in Las Vegas, rookies will instead be going almost straight into their initial NBA seasons, as training camps around the league are scheduled to begin on Nov. 1.