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2022 NBA Playoffs: Anthony Edwards and four breakout stars

Vincent Frank

It’s the first weekend of the 2022 NBA Playoffs and we’re already seeing young players show out for their respective teams.

Desmond Bane played well in Game 1 of the Memphis Grizzlies first-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves despite seeing his team lose. Meanwhile, Anthony Edwards was dominant in Minnesota’s win.

Remaining out west, Jordan Poole led his Golden State Warriors to a blowout win over the Denver Nuggets in San Francisco Saturday evening. These are among the young players set to make a name for themselves in the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Here’s a look at four such names.

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Tyrese Maxey, guard Philadelphia 76ers

2022 nba playoffs: tyrese maxey, philadelphia 76ers
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

A team loaded with big-name talent such as James Harden and NBA MVP candidate Joel Embiid, Philadelphia relied big time on Maxey in its blowout Game 1 win over Toronto.

Still only 21, the former first-round pick from Kentucky stepped up when asked to. He scored 38 points on 14-of-21 shooting, including a 5-of-8 mark from three-point range. Meanwhile, Harden and Embiid combined for a mere 41 points.

This just goes to show us how deep the 76ers are and how hard of an out they’ll be in the NBA Playoffs. Remember, Maxey averaged a robust 17.5 points and 4.3 assists on 43% shooting from distance during the regular season.

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Desmond Bane, forward Memphis Grizzlies

2022 nba playoffs: desmond bane, memphis grizzlies
Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Memphis falling to the Wolves in Game 1 of their first-round series, Bane came to play for his Grizzlies squad. Sure he shot a mere 6-of-15 from the field, but Memphis needed someone to step up behind Ja Morant with Jaren Jackson Jr. struggling big time.

In the end, Bane scored 17 points and actually finished even in 33 minutes despite Memphis losing by 13. In short, the Grizzlies are going to need him to continue stepping up if they are going to avoid a first-round upset in the NBA Playoffs. He did that during the regular season with the former Texas Christian star averaging 18.2 points and 4.4 rebounds on 44% shooting from distance.

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Anthony Edwards, guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

nba playoffs: anthony edwards, minnesota timberwolves
Christine Tannous-USA TODAY Sports

A living bucket. That’s the best way to describe what Edwards has been for the ascending Timberwolves en route to leading the team to the NBA Playoffs as a sophomore.

This was evident during the regular season with the former No. 1 pick dropping 30-plus points nine times. Edwards’ performance against the Los Angeles Clippers in the play-in game also helped the team overcome struggles from All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

This was also the case in Game 1 of their first-round series against the 56-win Grizzlies. Hot from the start, Edwards connected on 12-of-23 from the field for 36 points. He hit on 4-of-11 from distance while dishing out six assists, too. This dude is a star in the making, and is earning that title early in the NBA Playoffs.

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Jordan Poole, guard, Golden State Warriors

2022 nba playoffs: jordan ppole
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Not anywhere near a household name heading into his third season, Poole picked it up big time for the championship-contending Warriors.

That’s especially true when Stephen Curry went down to a foot injury back on March 16. In the final 12 games without Curry in the mix, this Michigan product averaged 25.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists. Dating back even further, Poole averaged 26.8 points in his final 20 games.

With Curry returning for Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs Saturday night, Poole got the start over his veteran counterpart. That’s primarily because Curry is on a minutes restriction. In doing so, Poole looked like the newest “Splash Brother.” He scored 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including a 5-of-7 mark from distance. If Poole continues to play like this, Golden State might just win the title.

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