Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Karl-Anthony Towns will appear in his second consecutive All-Star Game on Sunday evening in Charlotte. How will the game play out?
Karl-Anthony Towns hasn’t officially participated in any All-Star Weekend events to this point, but he’s already been representing the Minnesota Timberwolves in several ways over the past 48 hours or so.
Towns was interviewed at halftime of Friday night’s All-Star Celebrity Game, talking to ESPN’s Cassidy Hubarth about the challenges and trials of the Wolves’ season so far, as well as some of the “personal issues” that Towns said he was forced to work with over the last year.
KAT was candid about his take on the Wolves’ situation, referencing ownership’s shifting goals and all but spelling out the constant change he’s experienced over the last three-and-a-half years. He’s not wrong of course, but it was a bit surprising to hear Towns’ honesty in this particular interview.
Saturday brought the open media session and each team’s practice time, during which there were no major surprises. Then, Towns joined Ludicris to randomly select numbers one through eight in order to set the matchups for the Skills Competition that kicked off All-Star Saturday Night.
It was a stirring performance that only required Towns to say four numbers, and that was that.
His presence at the Dunk Contest on Saturday night was limited to sitting near D’Angelo Russell and Russell Westbrook in the corner of the court, and he seemed to be impressed as the rest of us with the dunk of the night from the Thunder’s Hamidou Diallo.
Yes, Diallo, braced himself on Shaq’s shoulder, but the elbow-in-rim aspect of the dunk is somehow being overlooked. There’s a reason that nobody has so much as attempted that type of dunk since Vince Carter‘s historical performance back in 2000.
Sunday night brings us to the main event, with the All-Star Game tipping off at 7 p.m. CT on TNT. Team LeBron’s starting lineup consists of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and, of course LeBron James. Team Giannis will roll out Kemba Walker, Stephen Curry, Paul George, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It will be fun to see how the team’s match-up defensively to start the team, not because either team will actually play defense but because somebody has to at least attempt to check Embiid, who is the only true big man in the starting lineups.
There are plenty of big men coming off the benches, however, with Team LeBron featuring Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Towns, and Team Giannis countering with Blake Griffin, Nikola Jokic, Nikola Vucevic, and Dirk Nowitzki.
Towns had an impressive performance in his All-Star debut last year, putting up 17 points and 10 rebounds in only 18 minutes of play. He did a lot of his damage by grabbing four virtually uncontested offensive rebounds, and shot only 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.
While the glut of big men on both rosters and Towns’ status as one of the last All-Stars selected probably means he won’t get much more than the 18 minutes he played last year, but it would be fun to see what he could do with more playing time.
We’ll have reaction following the game on both the contest itself and Towns’ individual performance. Enjoy the game!