Despite earning a playoff berth for the first time in 14 years, the Minnesota Timberwolves have made a fairly sizable shake-up to their coaching staff.
Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported on Monday that Wolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau has cut ties with three of his staffers: shooting coach Peter Patton, assistant video coordinator Wes Bohn, and player development coach Vince Legarza.
Legarza, in particular, worked closely with Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns. He arrived in Minnesota before the All-Star center’s rookie season in 2015-16 and formed a bond with Towns, often working with him on his low-post game. Krawczynski adds that Towns was unware of the decision to let Legarza go.
The 22-year-old Towns is coming off a 2017-18 season where he averaged 21.3 points and 12.3 points per game but was criticized for a lack of aggressiveness in his first career postseason. He will have until Oct. 31 to sign an extension with the Wolves (or else become a restricted free agent in 2019), and it’s hard to imagine that this decision will make him more eager to commit long-term.
Karl-Anthony Towns struggled offensively in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first playoff game against the Houston Rockets on Sunday, and one of the best big men to ever play has some ideas for how Towns can prevent that from happening going forward.
Towns scored just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in Game 1, and Shaquille O’Neal feels that has a lot to do with the 7-footer not establishing himself down low and demanding the ball.
“What I would tell him to do is run to the middle of the floor every time and just stand in there until the ref calls three seconds two times in a row,” Shaq said. “Not only will it get yourself in the game, the defense starts to panic and they’ll start to double and triple a couple times early and you kick it out to your shooters.
“I know he’s young, but he’s the man on the team and he still needs to demand the ball. When they switch and a little guy (guards) him, all the guards telling him to clear out — no, you don’t move. You say, no give me the ball. Throw me the ball.”
Towns did manage to chip in with 12 rebounds, but he knows he has to do a better job in other areas if the T-Wolves want a shot at giving Houston a series.
While Shaq may be known more for his goofy antics in his post-playing days, Towns would be wise to listen to any advice he has to offer. His four championship rings, three NBA Finals MVP awards, 15 All-Star appearances and spot in the Hall of Fame really say it all.
Joel Embiid is pretty much just heat-checking at this point.
After the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-108 on Saturday, the Sixers star center jabbed Wolves counterpart Karl-Anthony Towns in a post on social media. Embiid posted a picture of himself dunking with Towns visible in the background and wrote in his caption about how the game was “the talk of both towns.”
Embiid finished with 19 points and six rebounds in the victory, compared to 15 points and 11 rebounds for Towns. But Embiid’s dig is the latest chapter in a continuing (and seemingly friendly) war on social media between the two, the last installment of which we saw back when they met in December.
Karl-Anthony Towns on Tuesday was named to his first All-Star Game, and his family was overjoyed over the news.
This video shows the cool reaction from his parents and girlfriend upon the Minnesota Timberwolves big man being named to the Western Conference All-Star team as a reserve:
Towns, 22, is in his third season in the league and averaging 20.2 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He arguably deserved to be an All-Star in his first two seasons, but with Minnesota finally posting a strong record, his case is much better. He’s also inching closer to making his bold prediction come true, one step at a time.
A 38-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game certainly was not easy for Minnesota fans, and Karl-Anthony Towns did not exactly help any.
The Timberwolves star caused quite a stir by showing support for the Eagles on his Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts during Sunday’s game.
Granted, the 22-year-old big man is a native of Edison, New Jersey, just about 60 miles south of Philadelphia. But regardless, Towns was still dragged on social media for such an outward show of support against the city he plays for.
With less than a month to go before the NBA trade deadline, the rumor mill is starting to heat up, particularly for two notable Western Conference teams.
Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reported on Friday that the LA Clippers pitched a blockbuster deal to the Minnesota Timberwolves involving a swap of star bigs Blake Griffin and Karl-Anthony Towns. Scotto does add though that the proposal did not advance past an exploratory call as Minnesota declined.
The five-time All-Star Griffin is in Year One of a five-year, $173 max deal that he signed to return to the Clippers this past summer. As for Towns, he is still on his rookie contract making $6.22 million this season, so any swap would have had to involve more players and salary.
The idea of a swap between the two former No. 1 overall picks is obviously an intriguing one. But while Griffin is the more proven asset, he is nearly seven years older than Towns and is much more injury-prone. As such, it is not too shocking that the Wolves were not interested in trading their young franchise center, so maybe the Clippers should pursue this trade partner instead.
Karl-Anthony Towns forgot for a second who he was dealing with, but he was quickly reminded about it.
Towns’ Minnesota Timberwolves lost to Joel Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers in overtime on Tuesday night. The following day, Embiid boasted about his team’s win via Instagram. Towns threw shade with a comment on the photo, and Embiid struck back with a death blow.
The exchange between the two emerging stars made waves on the ‘net, with everyone recognizing that Embiid emerged victorious. So what did Towns have to say about the experience? He was reminded that Embiid is the king of social media.
You better believe that Towns is going to keep his Instagram exchange with Embiid in mind before he tries to challenge the big man in the paint again.
Joel Embiid is a living legend. First he beats you on the court, then he snatches your soul on social media. Take what happened with him and Karl-Anthony Towns for instance.
Embiid’s 76ers beat Towns’ Timberwolves on Tuesday 118-112 in overtime. Embiid outplayed Towns as well, narrowly missing a triple-double with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists in 39 minutes.
Embiid then posted a photo from the game on Instagram and trolled Towns in the process with a “cat” mention, which seems a reference to Towns, whose initials are KAT.
Towns commented on the photo on Instagram, saying Embiid’s caption was trash. Embiid came back by zinging Towns over his defense.
Towns and Embiid have gone at it before, with Towns trolling Joel over a video game rating. However, this takes things to a new level, and all scorecards have to award victory to Embiid.
Now you know exactly why the Warriors were motivated to beat Philly to avoid Embiid’s social media trash talk.
Big men are a dying breed … except when they aren’t. Hail to this era of seven-footers who dribble like guards, jump like pogo sticks, and shoot their shots from deep like drunk texts at 3 AM. And here are the ten bigs leading that charge right now, not counting those who missed the cut due to injury (Rudy Gobert, Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap, Hassan Whiteside, and Nikola Jokic).
*Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com*
10. Kevin Love, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Love being the Joe Biden to LeBron James’ Obama sure has a nice ring to it. A lot of dominoes did have to fall for our favorite Banana Republic model to even be in this position: Kyrie Irving moving to Boston to flatten dreams, Tristan Thompson getting injured, and Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose both being unavailable for one reason or another. But Love has barreled in headfirst through his new window of opportunity, slaughtering defenses with his smoldering three-point shooting from the 5 spot and proving just as effective at smoking smaller players who switch onto him down low. As Cleveland’s undisputed No. 2 option offensively, he is once again a nightly 20-10 threat just like those halcyon Minnesota days. Whether you need a 38-point half or a 94-foot touchdown pass, it’s obvious that my man is a Love supreme.
9. Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
The mother of all NBA seasons is almost here. So as you finalize your League Pass subscriptions, complete your fantasy drafts, and prepare the guacamole for your watch parties, take some time to ponder the true meaning of the season — specifically, the benevolent stars who make such a joyous holiday possible with their prodigious athletic talents.
Here I present, each NBA team’s most important player heading into 2017-18:
Atlanta Hawks — Dennis Schroder, PG
“All my friends are dead,” said Schroder in his best Lil Uzi Vert voice as he gazed upon his roster following the respective exits of his last remaining All-Star teammates in Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard this summer. Yes, the Hawks are now as thin as a toothpick, and the incentive for them to “Do Badly for Bagley” or “Make The Fans Puka for Luka” will be enormous. But someone has to lead this JV squad, and their resident German is as good of an option as any. Perhaps we will see Dennis the Menace gun for 20 and 10. Maybe he develops some nice pick-and-roll chemistry with new additions Dewayne Dedmon and rookie John Collins. Perhaps he finally bleaches his entire head blonde. Anything to give this team a modicum of watchability this season.
Boston Celtics — Kyrie Irving
After selling an arm, a leg, and a hip for him this summer, the Celtics will hope that Irving’s performance in his first season with them does not fall flat. The outside noise in Uncle Drew’s ear will be deafening — mockery of his decision to ditch LeBron James and go off in search of his own empire, jeers at the perceived stagnation of his playmaking skills, pervasive meme treatments of his unorthodox views on astronomy. But Irving is here for one reason and one reason only: to ball out. And that’s what he’s gonna do. Just remember kids, there’s no such thing as distractions when you’re very much woke. [mic drop]