The Minnesota Timberwolves are off to another dismal start to their campaign as their record currently stands at 3-7 which is 13th place in the Western Conference. Their big 3 of Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D'Angelo Russell have been playing phenomenal basketball offensively as they have all averaged over 17 points per game. Towns has been groomed as the franchise player of Minnesota for several years already, especially because of his magnificent play at such a young age.
The Timberwolves have just managed to reach the playoffs once in the career of Towns when they acquired Jimmy Butler for one season. When he is healthy, Towns has been unstoppable in racking up stats every single game as his talent is unmatched at the center position. Towns can easily score over 20 points and crash over 10 rebounds every game along with a block shot, but he is not that leader that could galvanize Minnesota to anything close to a championship.
Karl Anthony-Towns In A Nutshell (Kind Of)
Style does not complement well with teammates
As previously mentioned Towns has consistently been the best player for Minnesota for five years already. Even if he is doing this, he must be a leader that would lead by example or be more vocal with the goals and objectives of the franchise every single game. In his first few seasons, he was even available for all 82 games but his teammates from that iteration of the Timberwolves proved to be better in their new teams, like Andrew Wiggins with the Golden State Warriors and Zach LaVine with the Chicago Bulls.
Towns is also a player that needs the ball in his hands for him to be effective on the offensive side of the floor. His potential is maximized with post-ups as he uses his brute strength on the block or through screen and roll actions with Russell and Edwards. His assists totals are also down from the previous seasons as this could be a terrific asset when defenses decide to double him on the post.
Karl Anthony-Towns' defense has dwindled over the past years
Towns has been a respectable rim protector throughout the duration of his career, but he has been having trouble switching on guards and wings on the pick and roll. For instance this season, the defensive rating of the Timberwolves is better with Towns off the floor as their defensive rating increases by eight in the minutes when he is on the court.
Even with the previous rosters of Minnesota, their defense has been average with Towns off the floor because they are more versatile with switching and helping on the weak side. Moreover, Edwards and Russell are also subpar defenders thus making the Timberwolves susceptible to surrender over 100 points every game. If Towns wants to have an effective small-ball lineup, he must be an effective anchor for Minnesota.
Not elevating game on important juncture of games
As a franchise cornerstone of an organization, one is expected to elevate and increase his production in the crucial juncture of the game. In the fourth quarter when the team needs a bucket, one must be a reliable and consistent threat to propel the team to crucial victories. With the talent of the Timberwolves, they could build a cushion through the first three quarters but suddenly lose the lead toward the end of the game.
They are the second-worst fourth quarter scoring squad in the association recording just 21.9 points. With already one of the worst defenses in the league, it will be insurmountable for them to continue racking up some wins if they cannot be effective on either end of the floor. As the best player in the franchise, Towns must assert himself and demand the ball from the guards if there is no movement or action occurring in the fourth quarter.
The ability to perform at the biggest stage is what separates the good ones from the greatest. As it is already his sixth season, Towns must be more mature and a grown man's mentality to be at the same tier with some of the best bigs like Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Anthony Davis. With 72 more games remaining, Minnesota still has time, but they must act quickly in the tough Western Conference.