Enter the Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert
Well, maybe we spoke too soon. On July 1, 2022, the NBA witnessed one of the most, if not the most, talked-about trades of the young decade. The Wolves front office decided it was time to contend, and that meant trading for multiple-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner Rudy Gobert. The blockbuster deal saw five players, one first-round pick swap, and four first-round draft picks dealt to the Utah Jazz for the Frenchman.
One of Towns’ biggest weaknesses throughout his career has been his inability to be in two places at once. Because he has been so active in scoring, he has been an effective paint protector. To fix the problem, the Minnesota Timberwolves needed a rim-protecting center, so trading for Gobert made sense.
However, this meant asking KAT to slide over to the power forward position, one he had rarely played through his time in the NBA. A significant roster change like this is one that takes time to adapt to. Unfortunately for Coach Finch and the Timberwolves’ newly assembled roster, Towns suffered a calf strain in late November of 2022 which saw him only suit up for 29 regular season games in the 2022-23 NBA season.
Karl-Anthony Towns was medically cleared at the end of the 2022-23 NBA season and was able to make it back for the final eight games. It was hoped that a cameo appearance late in the season would give him time to work himself back into playing shape for the postseason.
After losing in the first Play-In game to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Timberwolves had to face the Oklahoma City Thunder for one last chance to make it into the playoffs. Towns showed up against the Thunder with a 28-point performance in a win that saw his team clinch the number eight seed in the Western Conference.