The Minnesota Timberwolves looked great in their preseason win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Given the talent the team possesses, they could end up being a surprise team this season despite finishing at the bottom of the league standings last season.
KAT appears motivated to have his best season yet
Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with seven points and four assists in just 14 minutes of action in his first preseason game.Towns was up to his usual tricks, displaying the driving abilities and shooting skills that have made him arguably the most gifted scorer at the center position in the game today.
This is nothing new for KAT, but where he made his presence felt loud and clear is when he backed down Jaxson Hayes and took it in for the posterizing slam and then walked away like a boss. It was that moment where you knew he’s not playing any games.
In terms of his playmaking, KAT had a couple of nice no-look passes which included a kick out to Josh Okogie in the right corner after driving down the lane with a head full of steam out on the fastbreak.
Certain big men definitely struggle to keep possession of the ball once they attract a double team, but with KAT’s passing skills, the Timberwolves’ offense could open up in so many different ways if they make a concerted effort to surround him with good shooters.
What makes Towns even deadlier in the modern NBA is that he can get defenders to bite on the pump fake and simply step back to hit the 3-pointer.
While his defense wouldn’t necessarily put him in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year, there is absolutely nothing the Piscataway, NJ native can’t do on offense.
D’Lo, other role players looked good
The biggest question heading into this season is if D’Angelo Russell can get back to his 2019-20 form, when he helped lead the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs and made his first and only All-Star Game appearance.
Early indications show that Russell can return to form if he’s healthy, as he put up 19 points including 3-of-6 shooting from downtown and five assists.
Towns will have plenty of instances where he’s caught in a double-team, so in those instances, he can easily dribble handoff it to Russell and D’Lo can easily hit the jumper in his sweet spot, which is the mid-range.
Russell thrives in a fast-paced offense where he can either use his crafty dribble to get defenders off balance or simply hit the catch-and-shoot three, as the Timberwolves could look to run a fast-paced offense with the way their current roster is constructed.
Anthony Edwards will be another year older, Malik Beasley will be another deadly weapon from downtown, Taurean Prince is a capable shooter and defender, and Patrick Beverley should help this team find their identity on the defensive end.
The Timberwolves have a good complement of guys to surround KAT with, and if they can all mesh well together, we can definitely see them compete for at least a play-in spot for the Western Conference Playoffs next season.