NBA

Warriors pre-draft practice shocked Anthony Edwards, who got a taste of what makes Stephen Curry great

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Ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors worked on, among other top prospects, Anthony Edwards. They had the No. 2 pick, and at the time, it wasn’t considered an absolute lock for Edwards to become No. 1 at the Minnesota Timberwolves. If Edwards slipped, the Warriors may have taken him against James Wiseman. They probably would have, in fact.

And if they chose Edwards, Steve Kerr wanted him to know one thing: he needed to be in better shape. In a recent chat with Kenny Smith, Edwards told a fascinating story about how he was shocked by the pace of his Warriors training, which was just a normal day at the gym for Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, and what that he took from that in advance.

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“I’m doing this exercise they say Steph does,” Edwards began. “I run, hit the line, shoot. Run, hit the line, shoot. You gotta do five in a row. I couldn’t do it. I’m too tired. I’m like, ‘Man, this is just too much But I’m not saying that, so I’m just jogging After practice, Steve [Kerr] comes at me like, ‘Can’t you go any faster?’ I’m like, ‘I thought I was going pretty fast.’ He was like, ‘Nah, do it again.

“So now I’m trying to sprint, and now I look completely insane. Missing left, missing right. So we go to dinner and he’s like, ‘Man, if we’re gonna draft you at No. 2 , you must be a hard worker. You’re not working hard enough. I think that was a stumble in the road for me. I called my trainer afterwards and said to him, hey bro, we have to to change.

“Steve Kerr told me that Steph and KD are training really hard,” Edwards concluded. “It might not be long, but it’s super tough when they’re in there. Since then, I feel like I’ve taken the next step.”

A few things: First, Edwards, who was just 19 when Minnesota took him No. 1 overall, being humble and coachable enough to take that lesson and immediately apply it to his own practices is impressive. Many athletes who have been stars all their lives take years to recover enough on their own to accept criticism, let alone develop the work ethic to apply it when no one is watching.

During the pre-draft process, it was actually a talking point that Edwards might not like basketball. He was, and is, a monster athlete who could, if he wanted to, have a long NBA career on talent alone. The desire to accept coaching and hard work was a choice, and Edwards has already seen the fruits of his commitment as he has become one of the game’s brightest young stars.

The second takeaway concerns Curry’s conditioning. This is the most under-discussed part of his greatness. The guy never stops moving, and unlike many other focal offensive stars, he puts all of his effort into defense as well. Conserving energy isn’t part of his game, and that’s because of workouts like this. He is in world class form.

Also note the part about Edwards “looking completely crazy, missing right, missing left”. Shooting and shooting a dead run, when you’re exhausted to boot, are two entirely different things. I remember talking to former sniper Allan Houston about this. Those who can sprint across a screen and catch and shoot without breaking stride are the truly great shooters. There are a lot of guys in the NBA who can do stationary jumpers.

Edwards didn’t want to be one of those guys. He immediately realized that he had to be able to chain shots on a full shot, when he was tired, to put himself in the class of players whose talent is worthy.

Curry’s workouts consist of game shots at game speed. Day in and day out. Year after year. He kills two birds with one stone, putting him in top shape while honing his already supernatural shooting skills under adverse conditions. Edwards understood this immediately. And he put the lesson into practice. Good for him. That’s how you get big, and he’s definitely on the way.

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