The Minnesota Timberwolves would benefit from Karl-Anthony Towns changing his habits

Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns (Photo by Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns (Photo by Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images) /

There are a couple aspects of Karl-Anthony Towns’ game that could be improved, both to the benefit of Towns himself and the Minnesota Timberwolves as a team.

Much like Andrew Wiggins needed to change his shot selection, Karl-Anthony Towns is doing things out of habit that don’t make much sense, and it’s hurting the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Of course, the easiest thing for Towns to fix would be to stop whining every time a call doesn’t go his way and sprint back to play defense. Transition defense has been a problem for this team for far too long and Towns not hustling back as the only big on the floor, is the biggest reason for it.

If Towns is too tired to sprint back, then maybe he shouldn’t take on such a heavy load on the offensive end of the floor. Which leads me to the next point: Towns shouldn’t demand post touches.

Towns isn’t exactly built like massive bigs such as Shaq or even Joel Embiid. His banging in the post only leads to himself getting tired and not trying as hard on defense. Towns playing in the post isn’t even a smart strategy given that he is the best 3-point shooter on the team and since it’s easy to double him there, Towns is all too often forced to pass it to a bad 3-point shooter, leading to an inefficient result.

Towns was heavily used in the post under Tom Thibodeau’s regime, so not getting those touches as much might just take some time to get used to. Instead of posting up, Towns should always be on the perimeter, where he truly is the biggest threat with his elite shooting ability. Simply by being beyond the arc, the defense is forced to pull their rim protector away from the paint, allowing the Wolves’ wings and guards more driving lanes.

Keeping Towns involved in the pick-and-roll also keeps the drive-and-kick open, allowing the ball to move from side to side and allow everyone to get involved and feel comfortable, while watching Towns go to work by himself in the post excludes everyone else.

In the game against Toronto, Towns wasn’t involved in the post at all, leading to plenty of great ball movement. Towns was still able to roll to the basket and get some easy baskets, and if Towns actually shot better from three in that game the Wolves might have had a chance to win against one of the league’s best two or three defenses.

The last thing that Towns needs to make of habit of is boxing out. Box-outs and screen assists are not counting stats that lead to All-Star appearances, but they definitely lead to wins and centers like Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert are a perfect examples of that.

In a system that primarily plays only one big, three wings and a point guard, the big must box out the other big to give the rest of the group the best opportunity to get the defensive rebound. On Wednesday, Cristiano Felicio grabbed seven offensive rebounds. Felicio is 270 pounds, but instead of boxing out, Towns too often chases blocks, leaving his man open to grab easy offensive rebounds and put-backs.

Sometimes, it’s not always on Towns, but it simply has to do with poor perimeter defense, leaving Towns to commit to the ball-handler. But that’s as much to do with the Wolves’ inconsistent defensive coverage in the pick-and-roll than anything else.

Gersson Rosas says Towns is 'untouchable'. dark. Next

If Towns buckled down on the glass and made a consistent effort to get back on defense in transition, his game would truly reach the next level. And with that, the Wolves would finally start winning games with a bit more frequency.