IV: Karl-Anthony Towns
Imagine being one of the leaders of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a guy who has competed at the highest level, and in the year when the front office makes the moves to load up the roster with what is NBA Playoffs level talent, you get deathly ill before the season ever arrives.
Making matters worse, when the NBA season finally arrives, you can only muster 21 games before your season nearly ends with a right calf strain. From hero to zero, in 21 games. For Karl-Anthony Towns, it seemed that if it weren’t for bad luck, he would have had no luck at all. In the end, his regular season production, with the exception of assists, fell far below his career average.
And now, trade scenarios to deal with Karl-Anthony Towns to another team are popping up everywhere. Imagine how strange he must feel, having been the lone wolf to compete at an elite level on this team, to be the topic of NBA rumors that have less to do with if he will be traded, and more to do with when and to which NBA team he will be traded.
If that does not motivate Karl-Anthony Towns to return to this team with a huge chip on his shoulder, then nothing will. While Towns may not have had much control over the fact that he missed 53 games in the 2022-23 NBA season, he does control how he addresses the fact that he did not play well when he did play and that he was a non-factor in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Being paid elite money in the NBA is not about the stuff you can buy with it as much as it singles that player out to perform at elite status, particularly when the level of competition rises in the postseason. Towns simply did not deliver.
So now, a true competitor has only one course of action. Come back the following season to show not just doubters, but everyone, why you are considered one of the best players in the NBA in the first place.