Karl-Anthony Towns and Minnesota Timberwolves Finally Have Something Special

Nikola Jokic is the reigning MVP. Joel Embiid is the current betting favorite to win the award this year. Their duel topped the marquee for Monday’s NBA slate, but Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns stole the show with a franchise-record 60 points against the San Antonio Spurs.

In 36 minutes, Towns went for 60 on 19-of-31 shooting (including 15-of-16 from the line and 7-of-11 from three), 17 rebounds and three assists in Minnesota’s 149-139 win.

By just about any measure, it was one of the greatest individual performances in league and T’Wolves history (more on that later), and it may serve as the exclamation point on Minnesota’s breakout. The Wolves are now 40-30, firmly in seventh place in the Western Conference.

This is Towns’ seventh season in the NBA. The only time he finished above .500 was in 2017-18, Jimmy Butler’s one-year odyssey with the Wolves. He’s seen all of Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins and Butler bolt. He’s had four different coaches.

But his current coach and roster feels better suited to him than any other he’s had, and Monday’s 60-point explosion illustrated why.

 

KAT-Vision 2.0

As essentially the offensive coordinator of the 2016-17 Denver Nuggets, Chris Finch was instrumental in the rise of Jokic as the game’s premier point center. And though his presence in Minnesota, which started when he was hired as head coach in the middle of 2020-21, hasn’t suddenly turned Towns into Bill Walton, Finch’s read-and-react offense could be career-altering for Towns.

With Towns often serving as the fulcrum in the middle of the floor or at the elbow, his defenders are on an island surrounded by playmaking. You can’t really double-team in the middle of the floor against any NBA team, but it’s even dicier with D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards flanking.

The danger of that one-on-one for other teams was on vivid display against San Antonio. What’s a big man supposed to do with this jab step and pull up from several feet beyond the top of the key that got Towns to 60?

Author: Lucy Green