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Timberwolves will be scary-good if Karl-Anthony Towns finds his shot

The self-proclaimed greatest shooting big man in NBA history is off to an awful start.
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Who is 7 feet tall and claims to be the greatest big man shooter in NBA history? And who is 7 feet tall and is 8-of-34 from 3-point land this season? If you answered Karl-Anthony Towns for both, you're right! 

Towns is a career 39.2% shooter from 3, so the 23.5% clip he's running at through six games this season is an anomaly that will correct itself in due time. That means we're likely nearing a time when Towns gets red-hot to make the Timberwolves even more dangerous. 

And that's just it. Minnesota, the No. 1 defensive team in the league, is dangerous despite Towns being off to a putrid start on the offensive end of the floor. In years past, the Timberwolves went as Towns went, but in 2023-24, Towns is just one piece of a roster that is loaded with talent – so loaded that they've already beaten juggernauts Denver and Boston despite Towns's below-average play. 

There's just so much good through six games... 

  • Mike Conley has one turnover in 179 minutes. 
  • Anthony Edwards is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. 
  • Jaden McDaniels is one of the best two-way players in the league and his offensive development makes him a scary opponent. 
  • Rudy Gobert is elite again on defense. He already has three games with at least four blocks when he had just four games with four-plus blocks last season. 
  • Naz Reid is clearly a Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner. 
  • Nickeil-Alexander Walker is a fiery defender off the bench who can knock down 3s. 
  • Kyle Anderson provides veteran calmness off the bench with an ability to shoot, pass, rebound and defend. 

How many big men in the NBA can say they've stunk but have still averaged 16.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while quietly improving on defense to make the two-big lineup with Gobert actually look reputable after last season's disaster?

Karl-Anthony Towns

Nov 6, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts to fouling out of the game against Boston Celtics in overtime at Target Center. 

Minnesota's starting five of Conley, Edwards, McDaniels, Towns and Gobert has a net rating of +5.9 points per 100 possessions. That's fancy data talk for "the Timberwolves are actually good with them together on the floor this season."

And when Gobert and Towns are on the floor together they have a net rating of +8.6 per 100 possessions. That's great in a sample size of 118 minutes this season considering they played 527 minutes together last season and produced a disappointing net rating of +0.6. And they're posting those positive outcomes despite Towns unable to find a groove on the offensive end. 

Some of you might agree with Charles Barkley and think Towns needs to be traded, but if he finds his shot – and nine years of history says he will – the Timberwolves are going to be extremely difficult to beat.