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Far-Fetched Friday: Timberwolves Better off Trading Away Kat
By: Khaqan Khan
From a spiritual sense, I feel like it's time for Karl Anthony-Towns to move on. Keeping him on the team feels like the wrong thing to do. Like anyone else, I want the Timberwolves to be good with KAT, but unfortunately that window shut when Minnesota sent an all time package to Utah for Rudy Gobert. My far-fetched take is that the Timberwolves won't be good until they trade Karl-Anthony Towns.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at the state of basketball in Minnesota.
Where are we?
5-8. KAT getting on Anthony Edwards about his diet. Edwards talking about how he can't get to the basket with two bigs. The starting 5 has the worst per in the league. D'Angelo Russell forgot to check in the game. Far, very far, from being a championship contender.
What's the problem?
Well, let's start by saying the team finally made the playoffs last year and got close to making it to the second round. But instead of allowing the team full of young players just getting a taste of success grow, the front office and new owners wanted to make a splash and, in doing so, sped up the timeline. It went from a young promising team to boom or bust within one summer, skipping the development phase. Secondly, adding Gobert to this team shores up the back line, but it also negates the advantages of their best players. Ant has no space to get to the basket, which is when he's at his best, not when he's settling for jump shots. It also forces KAT to play as stretch four which no longer makes him a mismatch problem- the thing that made KAT so special. The understated negative is it takes away minutes from young players that bring much-added depth. Chris Finch now has to stagger minutes and shots between 4 players. That means valuable pieces like Jaylen Nowell, Jaden McDaniels, and Naz Reid are limited. It just does not feel healthy for long-term success.
So what's the solution?
Trade Karl-Anthony Towns. Not because he's the scapegoat, but you can't trade away Gobert and can't trade Edwards. You can trade Russell, but that won't move the needle as much as trading Towns would.
KAT does have deficiencies. Incredible talent, but not the smartest player. He has great passing ability but doesn't always make the correct read. Inconsistent on defense, he tends to get lost from time to time. Gobert's addition was supposed to free up Towns, but it only put more pressure on him to do the in-between things like a role player rather than a star.
It's hard to justify the Gobert trade when it comes to clutch time, and you have to play Gobert next to KAT. You can't post up KAT without an extra guy always in the lane guarding Gobert. The best bet is some version of pick and roll with Edwards with an option to lob it to Gobert or to kick it out to KAT standing in the corner for a 3. I just don't think that can justify paying the price for Gobert.
From an outsider's perspective, I worry the team is naturally heading into becoming Edward's team. The problem is I worry that Towns still sees himself as the Alpha, and that annoys Edwards. Purely speculation, but if I were the GM of the Timberwolves, that is something I would keep an eye on.
The Timberwolves will trade KAT and finish this season better than the last.
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