Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns is a man on a mission

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 27: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jasear Thompson/NBAE via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 27: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jasear Thompson/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Playoff chances are dwindling for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Karl-Anthony Towns has been a man on a mission in an effort to give the team a second consecutive playoff berth.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are sitting at 29-33, which places them 11th in the Western Conference.

Everyone knew the West was not going to be an easy challenge, and at 4.5 games out of the eighth spot with only 20 games to play, Minnesota can feel their chances slowly fading.

The team has had plenty of injuries this season and that has certainly derailed its chances at winning games. From Robert Covington‘s long-term injury that has kept him out for more than two months to nagging injuries to Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague, the Wolves have been banged up for the better part of the season.

Over the last week, the Timberwolves have not made it easy on themselves after losing to the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers on back-to-back nights. Towns, for his part, has been on a mission to propel his team into the thick of the playoff picture.

Proving that even Towns is immune to the team’s injury issues, the Wolves All-Star missed the first two games of his career following a post-All-Star break car accident. Since returning from his injury, he’s been on a tear, putting up startling numbers.

In his last three games, Towns has averaged 37.7 points, 18.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 blocks. He’s corralled 4.3 offensive rebounds in those games and has shot 60.6 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from 3. He’s also attempted 11 free throws per game in that time.

Here’s a look at each of the individual games during the stretch:

  • vs. Sacramento: 34 points, 21 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks
  • @ Atlanta: 37 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
  • @  Indiana: 42 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists

Minnesota is 1-2 in that span, however.

Towns looked to be on his way to a massive game against Indiana after posting 23 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter along. And while he did indeed have a huge game, it looked like it could have been even bigger than 42 and 17.

For the season, the former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 23.9 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 blocks and 0.9 steals per game. Since Butler was traded, Towns has looked like a completely different player, a leader who has done his best to win games for this franchise. But Towns will need his teammates to step up alongside him if the Wolves want any chance at making a push for the eighth seed.

Andrew Wiggins hasn’t been that guy recently and that has made things a lot more difficult. Luckily, Covington looks like he may be ready to go any day after being assigned to the Iowa Wolves of the G League to practice consistently as part of his rehab.

The next stretch is crucial, as the Wolves will face-off against the Washington Wizards (twice), Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. These are all winnable games for the Wolves, including when the Thunder come to the Target Center. Minnesota always plays well against OKC and this will hopefully bring out the best in Wiggins, much like it has in the past.

Next. 5 storylines to watch for the remainder of the season. dark

After that stretch, the schedule gets much more difficult. If a move is coming at all, the Wolves have to start that move immediately. And it all starts with the production of Karl-Anthony Towns.