Have the Wolves put enough talent around Karl-Anthony Towns?

The Timberwolves need to avoid falling into a bad situation with their superstar.
Author:
Publish date:

After a year of relevance, the Minnesota Timberwolves have slipped back into the irrelevant abyss that has clouded them throughout their existence. While the liberation of Jimmy Butler was great for the franchise, it has left the Wolves in a situation that feels all too familiar in today's NBA.

With the player-first power shift in today's NBA, keeping a mid-market team's star happy has to be a priority. Just last year the New Orleans Pelicans put themselves in a bad situation when they failed for years to put an adequate supporting cast around Anthony Davis. The result was a messy divorce that eventually saw Davis land in his preferred destination, the Los Angeles Lakers.

As the Timberwolves open their preseason schedule with a trip to Phoenix on Tuesday, the biggest fear is that this same situation will play out with Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns has taken a step forward each year in the league and after the departure of Butler, has taken over the role as the face of the franchise.

Enough talent around Towns?

The only problem is what Towns has around him. While there are some good contributors such as Robert Covington and a couple of promising players – first-round picks Jarret Culver and Josh Okogie – the question is if the Wolves done enough to keep Towns happy enough to make him stick around Minnesota long-term (he is already signed through 2023).

In all fairness, the Timberwolves reportedly tried to make a splash this offseason by going all-out to sign De'Angelo Russell. After a pitch that included showing up on his doorstep as soon as the tampering period started and offering him a helicopter ride, Russell was grabbed by the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets. 

From there, the Wolves were kind of stuck in the mud. They added Jake Layman from the Portland Trail Blazers and feel he can be a sleeper, and signing Jordan Bell and Noah Vonleh are promising moves but until proven otherwise, leave a lot to be desired. 

Jeff Teague is healthy. That could be big unless Culver is a rockstar as a rookie and Minnesota allows him to run the point. Just one of the many questions the Wolves have. 

Winning is what will ultimately matter, but for the time being Towns seems extremely happy with the family vibe the Wolves are flaunting. The entire team went to the Bahamas to bond, had a family dinner at owner Glen Taylor's mansion, went out for a night of karaoke, and is posting videos like this to social media showing how fun the new culture is. 

The long-awaited breakout of Andrew Wiggins

At its core, today's NBA is a game of superstars and the Wolves currently have just one. Perhaps that could change with one of their young players (think Culver or Okogie) coming of age and exceeding expectations, but the real key might be the long-awaited breakout of Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins has been an enigma since coming to Minnesota in 2014 and with this already being his sixth season in the NBA, the 24-year old needs to step up in order to save the current state of the franchise. In reality, Wiggins has the talent to be that star, but so far hasn't been consistent in getting to the rim, showing defensive intensity and simply making his shots – all things that at least showed potential while he was a superstar at the University of Kansas.

Even Wiggins is admitting that the last two years were regressive for him. 

"I feel like my first three years I was on the rise and was getting better and better and then some changes were made," Wiggins said when training camp started last week. "I worked really hard this summer, and I'm as confident as I was when I first came into the league." 

While the Wolves may not have the horses to do it, even a playoff appearance could be enough to tide Towns over before making another run at talent next offseason or wait for internal growth of potential up-and-comers like Okogie and Culver. 

Towns seems really happy right now. The Wolves have some promising talent. It might not be enough to make a playoff run in a loaded Western Conference, but it's at least a start in the right direction. Let's just hope it doesn't take too long to get where they want to go.

Next Up

Ian Cole

Wild trade Greg Pateryn to Avalanche for Ian Cole

Cole won a pair of Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and is a former first-round pick.

1024px-Hudson,_Wisconsin_9

St. Croix County GOP chair resigns after incendiary post on official website

John Kraft sparked controversy with his 'Prepare for War' post on the party website earlier this month.

ann kim

Ann Kim's new restaurant, Sooki & Mimi, to open in February

The James Beard Award winner is the brains behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, and Hello Pizza.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

gray wolf

Grand Marais mayor's dog survives attack by wolves

He heard his 65-pound dog "screaming bloody murder" and then saw the wolves chasing her.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.04.55 PM

Minnesota's COVID vaccine appointment site goes live

Huge demand was expected when the site went live at noon.

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 19

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been filed yet and the staff member has not been identified.

Related

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 9.26.42 PM

Kyrie Irving scores 50 but Wolves outlast Nets in overtime

Minnesota led by as many as 17 points in the first half.

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 8.50.33 AM

5 things to watch for as the Wolves open the season in Brooklyn

Minnesota opens the season at Brooklyn Wednesday night.

Wiggins and Towns show potential as Timberwolves stomp Spurs

The Timberwolves duo combined for 58 points in another victory.

Wolves' Towns, Wiggins 'trying to change the culture'

The former No. 1 picks say they're working daily to improve.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns dealing with wrist injury

The Timberwolves star will miss Wednesday's game and be re-evaluated after the All-Star break.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns could return for Timberwolves on Saturday

The Timberwolves have lost all six games since Towns dislocated his wrist on Dec. 26.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns has lost 7 family members to COVID-19

The Timberwolves forward "hasn't been in a good place" since his mother died last April.