The obvious thing to mention here is that his impact next season on the Timberwolves in 2023-24 is projected to be unanimously better than last season, a season in which he had sat out 53 games due to a calf injury.
Having played the final stretch of the season and the five games in Round 1 of the 2023 NBA Playoff, Karl-Anthony Towns did little to impact the outcome of postseason contests. That left a bitter-sweet taste over his return, as many expected him to provide the spark necessary to upset the Denver Nuggets.
Now, Timberwolves fans are bombarded with NBA rumors and trade scenarios speculating and drawing up potential trades to ship one of the faces of the franchise out of here after one of his less productive seasons (with less than 30 games played).
In the playoffs, Towns did not have the best offensive performances, averaging only 18 points per game. But he did have an uncharacteristic great defensive impact on the other side of the basketball court. Alongside teammate Rudy Gobert, the pair held an amazingly peaking Nuggets center, Nikola Jokić, to some of his worst games in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. And it was all thanks to the Timberwolves and the Twin Towers.
That is also another reason not to jump to conclusions about last season. With too few games played together, there are not enough KAT and Rudy minutes to assess how effectively they can play on the basketball court together.
There was simply not enough time for the two former All-Stars to gel, do their thing, and fulfill President Connelly’s idea from the beginning. The pair did step up defensively, on the Final’s MVP, leaving still a lot of room to improve, but shedding a promising sign of things to work on during the offseason.
For KAT individually, there are a couple of different approaches he can take for the season: He can accept that teammate Anthony Edwards is the new face of the franchise and take in the second option role or he can still try to reassert himself as the number one guy on the roster and prove all the haters wrong.
Ideally, the first option is the one many expect him to choose, which would not be diminishing KAT’s abilities on the basketball court. Instead, pivoting to Edwards would merely allow the team to unlock his potential. That will mean that the Timberwolves roster will be built a bit differently, trying a different formula to promote the team’s success. In a slightly reduced role, Towns will no longer be expected to carry the team on his back, and that could be quite liberating for Towns for the upcoming season. Even as he steps back, he can still be a dominant force for the Timberwolves in a supporting role. If he is good at doing so, that is.