From: Las Vegas
Lowe on KAT:
1. Karl-Anthony Towns, unguardable
The Timberwolves have petered out amid injuries and a hail of enemy 3-pointers, but beleaguered Minny fans can take heart in these two realities:
• Towns has posted up more than any player since the Jimmy Butler trade;
• The Wolves have scored at a rate of a top-3 offense with Towns on the floor since December.
Towns is the league’s best hope for a sustainable, old school-ish inside-out offense — even a tick above Joel Embiid. He can do pretty much anything from any spot below the foul line, and that versatility makes him unguardable one-on-one. He is a slightly better passer than Embiid, with a lower turnover rate.
Towns is slinging about four assists per game since the Butler deal, up from about 2.5 before. He is patient reading help schemes, watching cutters whir around, and firing cross-court passes that travel one link further along the chain than the defense expects:
Towns is averaging 35 points per game on 60 percent shooting since the All-Star break. It has been a joke watching teams try to guard him. Only foul trouble can stop him. He is on pace for a second consecutive 50-40 shooting season, and he is a slightly improved free throw stroke — 84 percent career — from becoming the second big man ever to post a 50-40-90 season. (You know the other guy.)
The Wolves have poured in 1.2 points per possession on any trip featuring a Towns post-up since the Butler deal, one of the best marks in the league, per Second Spectrum. Consider that Robert Covington, Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Derrick Rose, and Tyus Jones all missed significant chunks of that time. Imagine when Towns can pass to more starter-level players?
He’s still not good enough on defense, but when he tries, he’s solid. On the other end, he’s an undisputed foundational superstar.