Back in the playoffs
The 2021-22 season saw the Timberwolves make a huge jump. Finishing with a 46-36 record the Wolves were able to make their second playoff appearance in the Towns era. The Timberwolves’ sudden spike of success can be accredited to Edwards’ improvement as a legitimate shot creator, as well as Towns having his first healthy season since 2018-19. Towns’ bounce back was recognized through his individual accolades, being an All-Star and All-NBA third-team selection.
Pushing past a Los Angeles Clippers team in the Play-In Tournament, the seventh-seeded Wolves were set to square off against the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Looking back on the series many Wolves fans believe that their team should have been able to advance to the second round for the first time since the Kevin Garnett era. Unfortunately, the Wolves blew multiple fourth-quarter leads which led to them losing in six games.
As for KAT’s performance in the series, well it was inconsistent. Having trouble staying out of foul trouble as well as a couple no no-show games, a narrative started to form that Towns was not a player that elevated his game for the playoffs. Clearly, the front office didn’t share the same opinion, as in July of 2022 they inked the big man to a four-year $224 million dollar supermax extension.
But through it all, it was clear that the Timberwolves, the most proficient scoring team for that season was not quite ‘there,’ just yet. The team did not have the ability to flex a defensive presence and slow down the scorers of the opposing team. And the Timberwolves, and the entire NBA, noticed that whenever Karl-Anthony Towns was on the bench or fouling out, the Timberwolves were simply not the same team.
A playoff berth, a young emerging star, and an All-NBA big under contract for seasons to come, time to run it back.