Wolves Need Available KAT, Not Superficial KAT

Photo: Sarah Stier – Getty Images

Karl-Anthony Towns is the best player on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Which means he needs to be on the floor if they’re going to win playoff games. That’s become more evident than ever over the Wolves’ last five games.

They beat the LA Clippers in the 7-seed vs 8-seed play-in game, despite one of the worst performances of KAT’s career. The Clippers threw smaller-sized players at him and brought double-teams from all over the place, whenever he touched the ball. Karl got frustrated and let his emotions get the best of him. That led to foul trouble throughout the contest and a bunch of vitriol afterwards. He sat the final 7.5 minutes.

Karl-Anthony Towns Rollercoaster

Towns played just 24 minutes that night, nearly ten minutes less than his season average and almost half of what he’s seen when not in foul trouble this postseason. He shot 3/11 from the field and scored just 11 points. Luckily, the Clippers aren’t very good and Anthony Edwards had a career game. So, the Wolves survived 109-104 and advanced to the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Waiting for them were the Memphis Grizzlies. Karl-Anthony Towns responded to his poor play-in performance with a much better showing in game one. He played 43 minutes, committed just THREE fouls and scored 29 points, grabbing 13 rebounds in the process. Problem solved? No chance.

Play-in Karl was back in the building for games two and three. Towns quickly got into foul trouble in both contests, leading to extremely unproductive game 3+4 averages of 30.4 minutes, FIVE fouls, 11.5 points and 8 rebounds . The Minnesota Timberwolves lost both games and went down 2-1 in the series.

In game four, Towns avoided foul trouble and was available all game long for Chris Finch and his teammates. The results? KAT’s best performance of his playoff career. He played 42 minutes, committed THREE fouls, scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Karl was on the floor and in rhythm to hit huge shots in the 4th quarter, including the two free throws that put the Wolves up four points, icing the game with under 10 seconds remaining. Series tied, 2-2.

KAT, Your Team Needs You

I’ve given up on Karl-Anthony Towns in a lot of ways. I’m over his antics and sick of his constant victimhood mentality. I’m learning to accept the fact that he’s never changing. KAT is who he is. A whiny brat who can’t take responsibility for his own mistakes or faults.

Towns believes he has to be someone he’s not. It’s possible that Jimmy Butler ruined him, in that sense. Even in game 4, where he played phenomenal and lead the Wolves to victory, his anger and constant huffing/puffing — throughout the contest — felt forced and unnatural. His interview after the win might have been the cringiest in history.

The Minnesota Timberwolves don’t need Karl-Anthony Towns to be Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. He isn’t that type of leader. Leave the emotions side of things to Patrick Beverley. All the Wolves team needs from Karl, is his body on the basketball floor.

If he stays out of foul trouble, Karl-Anthony Towns is a walking 35/15 and the defense MUST treat him as the offense’s #1 threat. He doesn’t have to be someone he’s not. He just has to be available. We talked about this on Monday night’s episode of the Minnesota Sports Fan podcast.

KAT gives everyone else on offense more room to operate, and by default, makes them all better. I wish Karl would figure all of this out, but it’s unlikely. So instead, we’ll be left to hope and pray that Towns’ emotions won’t kill the playoff hopes of our favorite basketball team. Whatever antics he think are necessary, fine.

Just stay on the floor. Please.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan