Winning in the NBA is hard. Ask the Timberwolves, or better yet, ask Karl-Anthony Towns.
Ten days ago Towns used an interview with ESPN to explain that winning at the highest level isn't as easy as he thinks fans think it is.
"I was having a conversation with someone the other day ... fans think it's so easy to win in the NBA and it's very difficult," Towns said, per ESPN. "It's the most difficult thing you can think of. No offense, this is not Life Time Fitness, this is not LA Fitness, this is the real thing. This is the best of the best playing, on one court, at one time, trying to figure out how to beat each other in a game of basketball. The margin of error is very slim."
Obviously, the margin for error is very slim. It's a margin the Wolves can't seem to overcome, having gone on two 11-game losing streaks, the first in December and the second currently in progress after a road loss to the Clippers Saturday.
While the Wolves haven't tasted victory since Jan. 9, it's been a lot longer since Towns has been on the court for a Minnesota win.
You have to go all the way back to the day before Thanksgiving – Nov. 27 – since Towns was on the court for a Wolves win. A knee injury kept him out for a month, but Minnesota lost seven straight games before his injury and has been dunked in eight more since he returned from a sprained knee.
Count 'em up: That's 15 straight losses in games that Towns has played.
Towns is averaging 26.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and shooting 51.1% overall and 41.2% from three. Those are historically good shooting numbers for a big man, but none of that has helped the Wolves get over the hump and start winning.
Is he a big box score the way Kevin Love was for the Wolves? It's unfair to go that far this early in his career, but perhaps some improved defense from Towns would help the Wolves get over the hump?
According to NBA.com, Towns ranks 392nd out of 495 players in defensive win shares (per game), a metric that helps reveal how many victories a player produces for his team through defensive ability.
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the NBA with 8.0 defensive win shares. Towns has 1.0 defensive win shares.
Towns' defensive rating, which determines how many points opposing teams score per 100 possessions when he's on the court, is an ugly 114.9. That ranks 446 in the NBA and is 86th out of 96 centers.
The Wolves are 5-25 in their last 30 games and have plummeted into the bottom five of the NBA. Their next chance to snap the losing streak comes Monday at Sacramento, followed by games next Wednesday and Saturday against the Hawks and Clippers, respectively.