Jimmy Butler's exit from the Minnesota Timberwolves unleashed Karl-Anthony Towns' full potential, now unable to defer to a better player and tasked with the bulk of the offensive responsibilities. The front office, the coaching staff and the players had waited for a time when Towns would take matters into his own hands, and Butler's trade to the Philadelphia 76ers has only tapped into his elite post-up game.
According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, Towns' post-up rater has skyrocketed, no longer being utilized as primarily a stretch 5, but a full-fledged bruising big, combining his lethal 3-point shooting with some real damage on the block.
Since the Butler trade, Towns has posted up 19 times per 100 possessions — the most in the league over that span, and a huge jump from his pre-trade number (12.5), per Second Spectrum tracking data. His efficiency on the block has skyrocketed; Minnesota is averaging almost 1.2 points per possession on any trip featuring a Towns post-up, typically a top-20-ish mark, per Second Spectrum.
Towns is a legitimate 7-footer, and one with the rare set of skills that allow him to punish smaller bigs at the rim while scorching them from beyond the arc. While he's not the fastest big man around, his drives to the basket are direct and deliberate, often ending up in trips to the line, where he shoots a sparkling 85.8 percent.
Pairing Karl-Anthony Towns up with a first-team All-Defensive cog like Robert Covington has only improved his emphasis on the less-lauded ended of the court, slowly making strides to become a better defender and making used of his raw athleticism to block shots and come out with steals in the passing lanes.