Not only is Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns continuing to build on another All-Star-level season, but his recent stretch of play may be the best of his career.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns is pretty good at basketball.
Okay, that’s admittedly an understatement, and this recent stretch from the former Kentucky Wildcat shows just how good he can be.
The Minnesota Timberwolves knew they were getting a special player in Towns the minute they selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Since he was selected, he’s been moving up the Timberwolves all-time ranks in a variety of categories and has only improved since he entered the league.
Towns made the All-Star game for the first time last season but briefly struggled earlier this season amidst the Jimmy Butler saga. Overall this year he’s averaging 22.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.9 blocks and 0.9 steals per game.
He’s still chasing the 50-40-90 club (currently sitting at .493/.382/.829 this season) and it’s absolutely on the table that one day he will get there, seeing as how he’s only 23 and has already done remarkable things.
In the Wolves last five games heading into Sunday against the Lakers, Towns has been on another level. He’s averaging 30.0 points, 16.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 3.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per game during that stretch. Minnesota is only 2-3 in those games, but he’s been one of the only bright spots on the team during this stretch.
Towns has been playing so well that coach Tom Thibodeau even complimented him.
If Coach Thibs says something like that, then you must be doing something spectacular. Since the trade, Minnesota has seen Towns become more vocal and he’s really embraced the leadership role.
Due to all the injuries the team has suffered lately, it’s plausible that this is the root cause of KAT’s dominance. Not to say that the injuries have been beneficial, but it shows that Towns has the ability to throw the team on his back and take them to where they need to be.
Towns has never been questioned about his offensive talent, but his defense has always been something that was lacking. Lately, he’s been blocking out those comments and swatting anything that’s in his way on that end of the floor. He has 16 blocks in the last five games, with 14 of them coming in three of those.
His best game came against the Miami Heat in which he took the game over, finishing with 34 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists, six blocks and three steals while carrying the Wolves to a win.
These recent performances have been good to see because Towns was struggling to find momentum not that long ago. From Dec. 17 to 26, Towns only broke 20 or more points once and logged only two double-doubles. He was also inefficient shooting the ball, going just 42.8 percent from the field (27-of-63).
Lately, however, it’s been great to see him engaged on both ends of the floor. Minnesota will go as far as Towns can bring them, but if this stretch means anything long-term, it shows that Towns can indeed be an elite two-way player.
The Timberwolves’ next five games will be against the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans.
The game that will bring Towns the biggest test will be against the Thunder. He usually struggles against bigger centers and Steven Adams will be no treat to match-up with down low. In the lone game against the Thunder this season so far, Towns was held to just 18 points and four rebounds, although the Wolves escaped OKC with a win.
Towns has been playing great this season and even better with the Wolves’ backs against the wall. Here’s hoping that it culminates in an All-Star appearance.