There is finally more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving at Target Center, but the leadership of Karl-Anthony Towns should be at the top of every Minnesota Timberwolves fan’s list.
This Thanksgiving, Karl-Anthony Towns certainly tops the list for Minnesota Timberwolves fans to be thankful for.
But there’s more to Towns than his 19.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game that fans should thank him for.
In fact, Towns’ leadership is the real star of his game. Nothing has proven how true this is than the play of the Timberwolves as of late. After the weight of Jimmy Butler was lifted of the Timberwolves’ chest, things have been a lot smoother in Minnesota. We all know the Timberwolves have a star in Karl-Anthony Towns, but the fact that they have the type of star in him is invaluable for the rest of this season.
The Wolves have had their fair share of talented players walk through the door, but not too many of them have significantly impacted the win column. Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and even Andrew Wiggins have brought loads of talent to the Wolves over the years. However, for someone as young as Towns to have the combination of talent and leadership is nearly unprecedented.
Towns has shown consistent improvement by being a true student of the game and inspiring his teammates to follow suit. Despite accusations of not playing hard by a certain former player, has pushed his teammates to new heights.
Taj Gibson spoke about Towns after practice on Tuesday.
"“He’s been doing a great job being the guy in the huddle, being the guy understanding to practice hard, push everybody every day, take responsibility. He sees defense, wanting to guard the best guys, wanting to guard the best centers and at times we got to slow him down and have him understand that we really need him to play the whole game, but it’s a process and he’s doing a great job.”"
To be a 23-year-old with that mindset hearkens back to the mindset of legends such as a young LeBron James, or Kobe Bryant, or Kevin Garnett. Not only does Towns perform at the highest level night in and night out, but just like those stars before him, he inspires all of his teammates in practice to take the next step in their roles with the desire to take on the challenges to continue reaching the top.
For a player who has enjoyed so much success to before his professional career to then deal with a roller coaster of roadblocks and speed bumps while continuing to try to make something work is a skill that won’t appear on the stat sheet, but needs to be addressed when talking about Towns.
The humility he has shown and continues to show is something that is almost non-existent in stars of any sport. (Look no further than his postgame comments after the win over Portland.) Towns doesn’t cause riffs when his play exceeds his teammates. Instead, he looks to pick others up and inspire his teammates to improve along with him.
This Thanksgiving, Timberwolves fans have a lot to be thankful for as the season begins to shift in the right direction after so much darkness. Towns’ skill and health are too major factors that play a part in the success, but his maturity and attitude is something that is hard to duplicate and fans need to be sure to value it as we trek through this season.
When you’re sitting around the table this Thanksgiving, be sure to remember the leader that the Timberwolves have. And he’s a different kind of leader than the newest member of the Philadelphia 76ers.