Jeff Teague encouraged by Karl-Anthony Towns demanding the ball more
The awakening of Karl-Anthony Towns is the single-most anticipated even for the Minnesota Timberwolves and on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets, the big man showed strong signs of making the right strides and teammates like Jeff Teague are seeing it happen right before their eyes.
Towns put up one of the best stat lines of his career with a monstrous 35-point, 12-rebound, six-block performance in 36 minutes — a performance worthy of a talented 7-footer that now has the fate of the franchise resting on his shoulders.
Unlike earlier in the season, Towns demanded the ball and Teague and the rest of his teammates happily obliged, as the big man shot 13-of-20 from the field and a scorching 4-of-5 from distance. Towns put on a show against Cody Zeller, calling for the ball every chance he got to exploit the matchup.
Towns is now doing what he was expected to do with Jimmy Butler on the Timberwolves, no longer conflicted to defer to a bigger star on the court.
“I think he always wanted that role. But you know, they were two talented players,” said Teague, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “But now he’s demanding it. And we all expect it from it, really. He knows this is his team and we follow him.”
The Kentucky product is finally understanding what his teammates want and expect of him on a nightly basis, no longer feeling out the right opportunities, but creating them for himself.
“My teammates expect me, and I know I have to be more aggressive,” Towns said. “Just being more with an aggressive mindset. There’s no fourth quarters getting a feel for the game, you got to go right out there shooting.
“So I’m happy that I was making shots in the fourth, but obviously every night, regardless of if I’m hitting or not, I have to be aggressive because my teammates need me to do that.”
Towns has been a monster since Butler left, but his aggressiveness will need to be steady if he hopes to elevate this team to playoff contention, sitting only a tiebreaker away from the eighth spot in the West.