Karl-Anthony Towns has been one of the most productive big men in the league throughout his brief career, even if most of that damage has come on the offensive end. Nevertheless, that has led to only one winning season for the Timberwolves, one playoff appearance, and one postseason win, which could lead to Towns getting the dreaded title of being a good stats/bad team guy.
Before Minnesota’s win over Oklahoma City Tuesday night, Towns averaged 36 points and 15 rebounds per game during a three-game stretch when the Wolves lost to the Hawks, Pacers, and Wizards, effectively putting to rest whatever slim hopes they had of making a late playoff push. Results like that won’t do anything to change his image, and the fourth-year center is mindful of that dichotomy.
“Obviously it’s fun to be playing well, but it’s got to come with wins,” Towns said, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “At the end of the day when I go home, I’m still looking in the mirror of a person who was on a three-game losing streak on the road to teams we should be beating.”
There is no denying, however, the impact Towns can have when he is at his best. Against the Thunder, Towns dropped 41 points and 14 rebounds, overpowering Steven Adams in the process. Towns has seen his share of the offense grow since the Jimmy Butler trade and the firing of Tom Thibodeau, as interim head coach Ryan Saunders has empowered his franchise big man to grow from an All-Star into a superstar, something the big man recognizes.
“I’m trying to find ways to be aggressive, more aggressive than I’ve been all season,” Towns said. “Just finding ways to unleash another part of myself that I’ve not done since I’ve been in the league.”
Towns currently ranks sixth in RPM among centers, including second in offensive RPM behind only Nikola Jokic. He is a walking double-double and is turning a corner in his age-23 season. The Timberwolves will likely be shut out of the postseason again this year, but at least they can head into the first season of Towns’ new contract with the confidence that their max player is up to the task of leading the franchise back to respectability.