Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns falls in ESPN player rankings

Karl Anthony-Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Karl Anthony-Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have three players ranked in ESPN’s top 100 player rankings, but their highest-ranking player fell five spots from last year.

ESPN has begun to release their annual player rankings list. Thus far, Nos. 11 through 100 have been announced, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have three players ranked to this point.

Ricky Rubio clocked in at No. 93 (subscription required), down from No. 84 on last year’s list. D’Angelo Russell fell all the way from No. 26 in 2019 to No. 69 on the 2020 version of the list. Our own Dylan Jackson shared his own immediate and understandably perplexed reaction to D’Lo’s drop.

That leaves superstar big man and two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns. ESPN released another batch of rankings (subscription required) on Wednesday, and Towns was indeed on the list.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns is ranked No. 23 in ESPN player rankings

Last year, Towns came in at No. 18 on the list. He started the year on an absolute tear and led the Wolves to an 11-9 start. Then, a losing streak and a knee injury, and the Wolves were suddenly buried in the Western Conference.

Towns ultimately fractured his wrist and only appeared in 35 games for a team that went just 19-45 in a pandemic-shortened season.

He’s now slid five spots to No. 23 and has dropped in the rankings each of the last five seasons.

Significant names that Towns beat out: Kyrie Irving (No. 25), Rudy Gobert (No. 26), CJ McCollum (No. 27), and Trae Young (No. 29). The latter three of those players were all ranked higher than Towns’ No. 18 spot last year.

Players ahead of Towns that were previously ranked behind him: Bradley Beal (No. 22), Jamal Murray (No. 21), Donovan Mitchell (No. 18), Devon Booker (No. 17), Chris Paul (No.15), Bam Adebayo (No. 13), Jimmy Butler (No. 12), Jayson Tatum (No. 35), and Zion Williamson, who jumped all the way from No. 42 last year to No. 19 this season despite playing in only 24 games as a rookie.

The only rankings to really quibble with would be Beal, Murray, and Williamson. While No. 23 feels slightly low for Towns, it would be hard to put him much higher than the upper-teens on such a list.

We now know that, at least according to ESPN, the Wolves have two top-70 players and three in the top 100.

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Now, they roll the balls out and play, and we’ll see what the Wolves trio can do to improve their standing on next year’s list — and if the likes of Malik Beasley can join them on the rankings come 2021.