Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 things to be thankful for this Christmas

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 28: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 28: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 21: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

4. Karl-Anthony Towns

This might seem like an obvious one, but in all reality, Towns has had a poor start to the season.

In a vacuum, of course, Towns is still the key to the future for the Wolves and easily the best player on the team. So, no, he’s not actually the fourth-best thing about the Wolves, but in terms of exceeding/meeting expectations this year, this feels about right.

After suffering through a 4-9 start with Jimmy Butler on the roster, Towns’ numbers were down across the board. He went through a much better stretch in late November through the middle of December before being mired in his current slump.

Overall this year, Towns is averaging 20.9 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, down from 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds last year. He’s also averaging 3.1 turnovers per game after a career-low 1.9 per game last year, and is among the league leaders in personal fouls committed.

Towns’ turnover rate has skyrocketed from 10.5 percent last year to 14.9 this season while his rebounding rate has dropped from 20 to 18.3 percent. He’s also shooting less free throws, with his free throw rate sliding from .343 to .310.

While we’re still not quite halfway through the season, Towns’ shooting percentages have slipped across the board, too. After averaging 54 percent shooting in each of his first three seasons, Towns is shooting just 48.3 percent from the field this year and despite taking more threes per game, his 3-point shooting percentage has dropped from 42.1 to 37.9 percent.

The offense has clearly had to change a bit in the absence of Jimmy Butler and Towns has seen far more double-teams in the post, but it’s up to the coaching staff to find ways to get the ball to Towns in a position to score.

For his part, Towns has shown improvement on defense, but still needs to be more continuously active on the glass on both ends of the floor and not settle for jumpers on offense.

That said, he’s still a 22-year-old All-Star and the sky remains the limit for the Wolves’ big man.