The Runner Sports

2017-18 Timberwolves Player Preview: Karl-Anthony Towns

Pre-season games have begun and we are only a few days removed from the start of another hotly anticipated NBA season. So, let’s look ahead to what we expect from each Minnesota Timberwolves player this season.

Karl-Anthony Towns (affectionately known as KAT by the Wolves faithful) was nothing short of amazing during the 2016-17 NBA season. He followed up a transcendent rookie year with an even more impressive sophomore year, where he posted career highs in points, rebounds, three-point shooting, and assists. Towns also showed off his dual-threat ability by shooting 36% from three-point range, a number which makes him the best shooter on the team.

This single stat shows the remarkable change in what is required from a big man. No longer are they beasts who post up, they are now required to be able to shoot at a respectable percentage. If you combine this with his old school game down low, what you have is an amazing offensive player

Towns also showed off his leadership skills as he was the first to point out that the previous season had not gone to plan due to the players not performing at a level expected of a playoff team. With Kevin Garnett’s retirement, Towns took it upon himself to be the face of the franchise and take the Wolves to the playoffs.

When the team was not performing, Towns took it upon himself to go the gym late at night and work on his game in an effort to reach that next level expected of him. This is evident in his summer workouts with Jimmy Butler, where both have thrown themselves with zeal into competing at practice

Defense is an Issue

While it is undeniable that Karl-Anthony Towns had a great offensive year, the same sadly cannot be said of his effort on the defensive end, as he ranked dead last as the worst defensive player by real plus-minus (RPM). Towns often took breaks on the defensive end and was the slowest to come back and help despite being the big man who is expected to patrol and protect the rim. Simple things like not jogging back in time to help are alarming as they show a lack of effort by the team’s best player. With Tom Thibodeau as a coach and Jimmy Butler on the court, Towns won’t be in a hurry to repeat these mistakes.

What is frustrating is that when Towns locks in and puts his best effort and undivided attention on the defensive side, he has shown to be a capable and versatile defender. In the clip below Towns switches on the two-time MVP Steph Curry, picks him up and stays in front of him the whole time and forces a bad shot.

For a 7-foot player to track and shut down one of the greatest to ever do this is virtually unheard of. If Towns can put some effort into the defensive end than he will have a breath-taking season and the Wolves will reap those rewards.

Mustafa Noor

Mustafa Noor

Writer at Runner sports
London based writer covering the Minnesota Timberwolves for the runner sports. Mustafa is well aware that the Timberwolves have not made the playoffs for 13 straight years
Mustafa Noor