Wolves won’t win until they fix these glaring weaknesses

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns
Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Improvement I: Towns has got to step up his game

One of the things that really stood out in the season opener was how uncomfortable Karl-Anthony Towns appeared throughout the game. Unlike the impassioned basketball star who seemed to rediscover his love of basketball in the 2023 FIBA World Cup  Tournament while playing for Team Dominican Republic, Towns seemed to be laboring throughout this game as though he was not certain where we needed to be, nor what he was supposed to do.

I observed on three separate occasions when KAT had clear opportunities to either drive to the basket for an easy layup or simply stay put and shoot an uncontested three-point shot. But on all three occasions, he seemed to be compelled to feed the ball to an out-of-position Rudy Gobert. The plays were ineffective, no points were scored, and the result of the three plays left me wondering to myself:

What was he seeing on that play?

I may never know.

Neither Towns nor Edwards appeared ready for the Raptors

Of course, I don’t mean to single out Towns. He scored on 8 of 25 shots taken, scoring 19 points. But Anthony Edwards, despite leading all scorers with 26 points in this one, scored on just 8 of 27 shots taken. The scoring difference? Towns made just two of his ten three-point shots, while Edwards scored on four of his seven treys:

Ultimately, the highest-paid players must deliver the most on a game-by-game basis. While I won’t go so far as to say that the Timberwolves lost because of the play of Karl-Anthony Towns, I do feel as though this was a win that was within the Timberwolves’ reach if Towns had played to his historic norms. 19 points (career average 23.0 points) and 20 percent shooting from the perimeter (career average 39.4 percent) is just not going to cut it for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.

One commenter on social media suggested that the Minnesota Timberwolves got a sneak preview of the NBA Playoffs version of Karl-Anthony Towns in the season opener against the Toronto Raptors. Well, unless Towns can play better, the NBA Playoffs may be off the table this season.

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