Connect with us

Phoenix Suns

Draymond Green offers thoughts on how Suns can beat Timberwolves

© Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

In the latest episode of the “Draymond Green Show,” Draymond Green broke down all of the NBA playoff series, including the first-round matchup between the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Green, a four-time NBA champion, is picking Phoenix, but said the Suns will eventually have to employ a defensive strategy involving his former teammate, Kevin Durant, to come out of the first round.

“I think Phoenix will win the series,” Green said. “They got too much firepower offensively. Here’s what will have to happen for Phoenix to win the series: at some point throughout the series, Kevin Durant is going to have to guard Anthony Edwards.

“If Phoenix is going to have a chance at winning this series, at some point, may not be Game 1, may not be Game 2 or 3, but at some point in this series, Kevin Durant is going to have to say, ‘Alright, I’m going (to guard Edwards).’ And Brad(ley) Beal is a good defender, Brad competes. But at some point, Kevin is going to have to take his length, his defensive tenacity when he wants to turn that up, and he’s gonna have to go guard Anthony Edwards if they’re going to move forward in this series.”

One thing that doesn’t make much sense regarding Green’s take is who would guard Karl Anthony-Towns if Durant guards Edwards. Royce O’Neale is probably the only other player in their eight-man rotation that could take on this challenge consistently.

Additionally, ecent history Edwards has not done well at all against Phoenix.

The 22-year-old Edwards is 2-11 in his career against the Suns. Phoenix swept the season series 3-0 over the Timberwolves this year and never led by less than double digits in the second half of any of these three games.

Edwards, who averaged 25.9 points per game this season on 46.1% shooting, only averaged 14.3 points on 31% shooting in the three games against the Suns this year. 

Coach Frank Vogel has emphasized a “gap integrity” type of approach when guarding Edwards and a lot of star players. This means the Suns play a tight shell around Edwards, as defenders play in between their man and the ball if Edwards has it, not allowing him to drive. The Suns have proven really successful in this approach against several teams this season if their communication is on point. Phoenix has also not used one primary defender on Edwards in all three of the previous matchups, but rather shown him several different looks.

“You can’t force (Edwards) to do nothing, you know what I’m saying?” Durant said after the Suns’ 97-87 win over the Wolves on April 5. “You just gotta win the numbers game, just have more players on him, two or three guys in this area. We’re not selling out to stop him, but you show presentation like there is more help than it is, and hopefully that deters him a bit.”

In the Suns’ 125-106 win over the Timberwolves on Sunday, Phoenix held Edwards to only 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting.

“I mean, you watched it,” Edwards said when asked about only taking seven shots. “I ain’t gotta talk about it, everybody seen it. They just double-teamed me all night.”

Durant is having one of his best defensive seasons ever and could be in consideration for an All-Defensive team, so we will see if the Suns will eventually have to shift to this strategy or if their success with what they did in the regular season carries over.

Green and the Warriors are the No. 10 seed and playing in the play-in tonight against the No. 9 Sacramento Kings, while the Suns are the No. 6 seeded and will travel to playing No. 3 Minnesota on Saturday.

Anthony Edwards has given the Suns plenty of ‘bulletin board material’ over the years

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information, exclusive content, and access to our seasonal magazines! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

More in Phoenix Suns