Karl Anthony-Towns is the face of the Timberwolves franchise. If that wasn’t already clear, it became obvious when Minnesota picked him by trading away Jimmy Butler to the 76ers.
It was not a well hidden secret that Towns and Butler weren’t fond of each other. Butler once left Towns speechless at a practice shortly after berating him. The Wolves might have had a chance at keeping Butler had they chose to move on from Towns, but in the end, they picked their young big man.
That puts a heavy load on Towns. The Wolves big has played a little too passively the last two season with Butler in tow. Minnesota wants to rely on him as not just a go to guy on the court, but someone that can be a leader of some kind off of it. Not everybody can be a star, but the best player on the team has to usually take a leadership role of some kind.
Towns, however, doesn’t sound like he wants to take that kind of role. Not yet anyway. To him, he’s no more important than anybody next to him. Via The Star Tribune
On Sunday, Karl-Anthony Towns took issue with the idea that, with Butler gone, he had to become the team’s leader.
“First of all, I’m not one of the most important [players on the team],’’ he said. “I’m just a piece on this team. Everyone is just as important as the next. So if everyone’s doing their job and everyone is working hard, doing the little things, we make a great product. That’s first. And second, we just have to come together. We’re not doing well on defense so far this year, and we have to clean that up.’’
This is really not a great quote from Towns. One of Butler’s biggest criticisms against Towns was that he didn’t carry himself like he was the most talented player on the team despite that being true. He wanted Towns to bring more and Towns doesn’t always show that he can. This was a phenomenal chance for Towns to make this his team and carry the Wolves in a new direction after the trade. Instead, he’s passing it along to the next man up. It’s a bad look.
Some players struggle to be vocal leaders, but they make up for it with example. The problem for Towns is he doesn’t do much of that either. He’ll frequently have games where he just disappears with close to no shot attempts. He struggles to establish position down low and lets defenses push him around despite being a 7-feet, 250-pound monster.
If Towns isn’t going to establish himself as a leader off the court, or play like one on it, then he’s never going to escape criticisms that he’s too passive. Towns has to establish himself. The Wolves are counting on it now.