Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns is at a crossroads

PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 04: Tayshaun Prince #12, Andrew Wiggins #22, Kevin Garnett #21 and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves huddle up. Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 04: Tayshaun Prince #12, Andrew Wiggins #22, Kevin Garnett #21 and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves huddle up. Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Karl-Anthony Towns is objectively the best center in Minnesota Timberwolves history. Now, the Wolves need him to choose which former big man he wants to emulate.

Karl-Anthony Towns is the best center in Minnesota since Minneapolis Lakers star George Mikan.

Throughout their history, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been fortunate enough to have (mostly) good luck drafting bigs. There was Kevin Garnett, of course. Then Kevin Love. And now KAT. It’s safe to say that they’ve made out pretty well — especially for an organization that’s never made the Finals and has one playoff appearances over the past 16 seasons.

Looking back, the way that the era of the Kevins each went were drastically different.

Kevin Garnett led the best teams in Timberwolves history and topped out with the team losing in a conference finals match against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2003-04 season.

Kevin Love’s Wolves weren’t as fortunate. They faced a high volume of injuries and that absolutely factored into why they never saw the playoffs in a season or two. However, it could also be attributed to how different the two stars were.

Kevin Love, like Karl-Anthony Towns, was a dynamic shooter and rebounder. He was the first option and one of the focal points of the offense but was an underwhelming defender which hurt the team.

Kevin Garnett was also a major offensive feature for the team, but his biggest contribution to the team was his defense. He is one of the best all-around power forwards in NBA history. And, as we’ve all heard, defense wins championships.

So now we arrive to current superstar Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is a dynamic shooting star and objectively the best shooting center ever, yet is usually a liability on defense. His Wolves have only reached the playoffs once, thanks to the help of Jimmy Butler.

With the new key parts of the Wolves in D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and others, the team has struggled defensively this side of a fun, intense game against the Miami Heat. This current version of Towns will only add to the defensive woes and hinder their ability to be actual contenders.

However, KAT could be presented with an opportunity to pull away from being Kevin Love 2.0.  With Beasley and Russell, they have two dynamic scorers that could slot in as the first, second or third options on offense. This could allow KAT to not have to expend so much energy on offense and become a second or third option.

With less of a load to carry on the offensive end, he could offer more effort on defense. While KAT will never be Kevin Garnett, he could pull closer to being like him on the Kevin Scale.

If Towns could be the defensive anchor of the team and be a slightly smaller feature on offense (think Deandre Ayton with range) it could propel this team into another level of play and allow them to do a couple of other things. From moving KAT to the 4 for spot minutes to playing a weaker defender at power forward to not having to find a rare 3-and-D big man that can anchor a defense.

Not only would a more defensively focused, competent KAT unlock a bunch of rotational freedom but it is the final piece that the Wolves need to compete. Towns holds the keys to the future for the Wolves and he has a decision of which Kevin’s ghost he wants to chase.

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A current, Kevin Love-esque KAT will make this team a treadmill, peaking as a low-seed, first-round exit type of team. A Kevin Garnett-esque, defensively focused Towns will make this team very dangerous and could propel them to places that long-suffering Wolves fans have only dreamed of.