The Minnesota Timberwolves have had control well into the second half of four of the five games of their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, and yet they find themselves going back to Minneapolis facing elimination in Game 6, down 3-2 in the series.
A big part of the problem has been late game offensive execution, as their losses in Games 3 and 5 featured fourth quarter collapses. At the center of it all are the two stars on both sides, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ja Morant. The Grizzlies All-Star has been able to find an extra gear in the fourth quarters of those pivotal games, almost willing Memphis to wins, while Towns has gotten lost in the shuffle of a Minnesota offense that has far too often relied on them hitting difficult, contested jump shots out of iso sets for D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards.
Compounding Minnesota’s issues is the fact that they have been talking a lot in these games, particularly Towns, and it has backfired spectacularly — most notably his “we in Minnesota now” comment while mic’d up during the first half of Game 3 that became an easy target for Morant afterwards. Neutral observer Draymond Green has some thoughts about this new phenomenon of KAT trying to be a trash talker, and suggested on his podcast on Friday that Towns should scrap the talking and “just be yourself” because he’s putting an unnecessary target on his back.
"At some point you probably should just be yourself"@Money23Green weighs in on KAT the trash talker pic.twitter.com/6BS3yDQmRu
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) April 29, 2022
For years Towns has heard criticism that he isn’t tough enough and plays soft, and it’s pretty clear that he is trying to change that perception. The problem is when he does it with words only, not actions, it’s pretty easy for opponents to see through that. As Green notes, in Game 5 he was doing all that talking but let Memphis guard him with Dillon Brooks and never once went into the post trying to calm his team down and take advantage of what should’ve been a mismatch down low.
Everyone wants KAT to find That Dog In Him™ but it’s just not something that can be manufactured through talking. Green, who is a very natural sh*t-talker, seems to think dropping the talking act and simply asserting his dominance would work much more effectively, and if Towns needs a “quiet killer” role model, Tim Duncan tape would serve him well as he was an absolute monster who barely said a word on the court. That’s not to say Towns can’t express himself out there when it feels right, but Green points out that this year has felt out of character for Towns and a bit forced.