After taking control of the top seed in the Western Conference on November 19th, the Minnesota Timberwolves have since relinquished the top spot to the Oklahoma City Thunder after losing to the Charlotte Hornets on January 22.
Despite the subtle drop in the standings, the Timberwolves should feel confident as a top-four team heading into the All-Star break. Minnesota is tied for first place with Oklahoma City but loses the tiebreaker as the Thunder are 2-1 against the Timberwolves this season.
Behind the Timberwolves are the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers. And even though divisions are nondescript in today's NBA, it's worth noting that the top three squads in the West all reside in the Northwest Division.
With the playoff race in full swing, it's only fitting that the All-Star break is on the horizon to give teams and players a much-needed break before the final postseason push begins. As we gear up for the midseason festivities, the NBA All-Star starters were announced last night.
In the Western Conference, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic were named as the starters in the backcourt. The frontcourt was filled with veterans; LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Nikola Jokic.
In the Eastern Conference, a first-time starter highlighted the group, Tyrese Haliburton. Alongside Haliburton, Damian Lillard occupied the guard spot, while Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid were voted into the frontcourt.
Although he wasn't selected as a starter, Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns still has a shot at being named a reserve. In the final fan voting returns, Towns was surprisingly left off the leaderboards. However, the reserves are voted by the coaches and not the fans.
Here, we list two reasons why Towns should and two reasons why Towns shouldn't be named an NBA All-Star when the reserves are announced on February 1.
Why he will: Incredible efficiency
Towns has been an incredibly efficient offensive player for the entirety of his career. The Timberwolves big man has shot below 50 percent just twice. And he's shot below 35 percent from 3-point range only once, in his rookie season.
This season, Towns is shooting 52.0 percent from the field, 43.9 percent from three, and 88.2 percent from the free throw line. If he were to up his free throw percentage to 90 percent, he'd be the 10th player in NBA history to join the elusive 50/40/90 club and only the second big.
The offensive powerhouse is top 30 in true shooting percentage, top 35 in field goal percentage, and top 15 in 3-point and free throw percentage. He's one of two players in the NBA to maintain these marks.
When comparing this season to his previous All-Star bids, his true shooting percentage of 63.5 percent is eerily similar. Additionally, his field goal and 3-point percentages are also almost identical. In each of Towns' previous All-Star campaigns, he shot above 51 percent from the floor and 40 percent from downtown.
Towns has never made an All-Star game shooting below the aforementioned percentages. The sweet-shooting big is truly an anomaly at his size. But, that's not to say he doesn't perform well in his historical position.
Amongst all players to average at least two post-ups per game, Towns is tied for first, shooting 61.5 percent from the post. The Minnesota big man is one of the few players in the NBA to score efficiently from every zone.