Karl-Anthony Towns (MVP Edition) Has Carried the Wolves to 2-0

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If you’ve heard the possible rumors, I am here to confirm their truths. The Minnesota Timberwolves are 2-0 for just the 2nd time in franchise history, and Karl-Anthony Towns might be an MVP candidate for 2019.

Take some time to read that first paragraph again, if your mind was unable to digest it the first time. You aren’t the only one.

I knew KAT was a superstar, and among the top talent in a great batch of young players, who will soon be known as the most elite in the NBA. What I didn’t realize, before the season started, is that Karl Anthony Towns is already among the most elite in the NBA, and whoever doesn’t know that….. is about to learn.

You saw the highlight videos above but his box score might be even more impressive:

37 PTS | 15 REB | 8 AST | 4 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | +25

Those numbers would look stupid in a fucking video game. “Oh calm down, Eric, it was only one game.” Was it though? Sure, the Timberwolves have only played two games so far this season, but in both of those games, KAT has been nearly identical in all categories. Check out his box score from game 1 in Brooklyn:

36 PTS | 14 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | -1

If that is the KAT we are going to see on a regular basis…. maybe I was wrong about the playoffs. Maybe, Karl is good enough to single-handedly drag us into that tournament… KG did, and these are better than KG numbers. “Oh his defense though…”. Oh, you mean the defense that’s been a downfall to his player profile throughout his career? Also, not a problem so far in 2019-20.

Through two games, Karl is averaging almost 3 more steals more than he has for his entire career and 1 full block more, per game. Want advanced numbers? Sure, I have those too. Towns’ Defensive Box Plus/Minus of 11.0 is so stupid right now it is hard to look at. Like, it hurts your eyes. For context (since most of you — just like me before I wrote this — have no idea what the fuck that means), his career average in that category is just 1.1.

Towns’ total “Box Plus/Minus” through 2 games is 28.4. His best cumulative season so far was last year’s 6.8…. and the best seasons ever, belong to ’09-’10 LeBron James and ’89 Michael Jordan, who both reached between 12.5 and 13.0. Obviously, KAT’s number will come down but, through 2 games, it shows just how valuable he has been.

Karl also LEADS THE NBA right now in “Win Shares”, “Defensive Win Shares”, and “Value Over Replacement Player” (and “Offensive Win Shares” but we’re focusing on defense). None of those numbers or words are typos. Here is proof…

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The improvement on the defensive end of the floor pops off of the TV, too. I knew KAT works at his craft and cares about his game. I just didn’t know that it was even possible to improve that much between seasons. I know it is a small sample size but I sure fucking hope Karl proves me wrong on a season-long basis.

Here is KAT’s career advanced stat-table from basketball-reference.com. Take a look at his improvement this season in just about every category that is per-game based. How KAT has opened 2019-20 is just absolutely astonishing and bordering non-human. (You can scroll all the way to the right to see his difference in “Box Plus/Minus”).

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Through all of this positivity on KAT’s improvement, and what it could do for the outlook of this season, for the Wolves, it’s difficult to look past what the season could be if it weren’t for the anchor that is Andrew Wiggins. Imagine the possibilities, with a freed up $30 Million to spend on this roster… The fact that he gets paid as much as Towns does, should really piss Karl off. That’s one of the things that scratched at Butler, who won’t play tomorrow night (wife is having a baby) as the Wolves face the Heat, looking to move to 3-0.

Who fucking knows what the future holds, though… because with this Karl-Anthony Towns, anything is possible. That includes finding a way to move Andrew Wiggins ASAP, so we can get Karl’s buddies here before he goes to them… Once we have two, it’ll be a lot easier to get the 3rd.

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Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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