Erik Spoelstra said he fees like he is going back in time with the way Team USA star Anthony Edwards reminds him of Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade.
— Frank Farmer (@TheBodyGuardF) August 23, 2023
“It’s hard not to look at Anthony Edwards and not see Dwyane Wade in him,” Spoelstra said. “And I’m not a guy for comparisons. I’m not. But the way he moves, the way he competes, the way he electrifies a crowd, yes that reminds me of No. 3, and I have told Anthony that. I feel like I’m going back in time. It’s making me younger again, and I’m really enjoying it.”
It may be a classic case of recency bias, but Spoelstra’s comments are high praise for the 22-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves star. The three-season NBA veteran recently had a phenomenal outing for Team USA in a 2023 FIBA World Cup exhibition game against Germany, scoring 34 points and playing excellent defense in helping it rally from 16 points down in the second half to win 99-91.
Spoelstra is an assistant coach for the American team under head coach Steve Kerr, who also has effusively praised Edwards.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Edwards averaged 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game for the Timberwolves last season and was rewarded with a new five-year contract reportedly worth up to $260 million this offseason.
Spoelstra was an assistant coach for the Heat when Wade arrived in Miami as the No. 5 pick in the famous 2003 NBA Draft that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Now 52 years old, Spoelstra became head coach of the Heat for the 2008-09 season and has fashioned a very successful career over his 15 seasons.
Edwards and Wade share physical characteristics, with each standing 6-foot-4 and listed playing weights of about 220 pounds, which result in similar styles of play on the court.
Wade went on to play 16 incredibly successful NBA seasons that resulted in his enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame this month. He also said he believes his status among the greatest players of all time would be even higher if not for the injuries he suffered during his career.
A three-time NBA champion who was MVP of the 2006 Finals, Wade was a 13-time All-Star and named to eight All-NBA teams, including two First Team selections.
Edwards has not had playoff success so far, losing the two series he has played in with the Timberwolves. He made the All-Star Game for the first time last season. But if Spoelstra is to be believed, it is only a matter of time before he starts piling up accolades the way that Wade did.