Minnesota Timberwolves: How Karl-Anthony Towns could win NBA MVP

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 30: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 30: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t likely to be part of the NBA Most Valuable Player conversation. But what would he have to do to get on the radar?

Let’s start by acknowledging that Karl-Anthony Towns is highly unlikely to win the 2020 NBA Most Valuable Player award.

In fact, Towns wasn’t even mentioned in the top 11 players that showed up in a recent ESPN poll asking for voters’ top three most likely MVP candidates for the upcoming season. So that sparked the question, what would it take for Towns to at least be in the MVP conversation this season?

After all, the Minnesota Timberwolves are a fringe playoff team at best and Towns, despite being a two-time All-Star and still just 23 years old, isn’t widely considered to even be a top 10 player league-wide.

But a huge part of winning awards is opportunity, and Towns figures to have plenty of it for a team devoid of any other proven stars. And yet, the Wolves don’t figure to be a bottom-feeder this year, which just might mean that his squad is able to find a perfect balance to give Towns an outside shot at the award.

So, if Towns is going to insert himself into the MVP conversation, what all will he need to do?

For starters, Towns has to have a monster season. That much is obvious. But here’s the crazy thing: so many of the numbers and statistics used to argue for MVP candidates are areas in which Towns is already dominate.

For instance, Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists last year while shooting .578/.256/.729 from the field. Towns put up 24.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game and had a triple-slash of .518/.400/.836.

Clearly, Giannis’ year was slightly better from a numbers perspective, not to mention when it comes to team success and overall impact on the court (read: defense). But the counting stats and face-value percentages aren’t all that far off.

There’s plenty of arguments to made that center on Towns’ gaudy statistics. In fact, Danny Chau of The Ringer recently tried to make the case for Towns as the best big man in the league, which yours truly broke down here. But numbers are far from the only thing that matter.

Team success is probably No. 2 on the list of MVP-worthy criteria; the Wolves can’t expect to win 38 games and hope for Towns to win an award. But the Wolves don’t have to necessarily be the No. 1 seed, either. They just have to significantly outperform expectations while Towns has a monster season.

For instance, look no further than Paul George or Nikola Jokic from last season, who finished No. 3 and No. 4 in MVP voting, respectively. The Thunder won just 49 games and were sixth in the West, and the Nuggets won 54 games and landed the No. 2 seed but far outperformed expectations.

Granted, neither George or Jokic received any first-place votes, but they were in the conversation.

So, if you’re wondering what Towns needs to do to be mentioned as an MVP candidate, the answer is to follow the above advice. A huge statistical year plus a Wolves season that puts them in the middle of the playoff pack and probably something like 45 wins would be enough for him to land in the top three or four in voting.

Next. Breaking down Noah Vonleh's role with the Wolves. dark

To actually win the award? Now that would almost surely require a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference…