Karl-Anthony Towns has gone on a tear in the new year, averaging 28.3 points on 62 percent true shooting and 15.0 boards through three games. A more surprising and slightly longer-running trend, meanwhile, is his average of 4.6 assists over his last 10 games. As a seven-footer with range out to three and a solid array of iso moves, KAT attracts constant double teams, especially when he’s scoring like he is right now.
While he’s never really been hailed for his vision in seasons past, Towns seems now to be figuring out how to pass his way out of a bind, and he’s piled up a slew of five-or-more-assist games over his last 10. Playmaking is a welcome and necessary new wrinkle to his game, as he eases into what could be a long reign as one of best offensive bigs in the NBA. These aren’t all garbage scorer table indulgences or simple dribble-handoffs, either.
Towns connected on this over-the-shoulder gift in their last game on Sunday night:
He’s been developing some give-and-go chemistry with his sidekick Andrew Wiggins:
This is a boon for Wiggins, who can still be zippy and athletic even as he continues to shoot appalling numbers nearly everywhere on the floor:
Cutters like Dario Saric and Taj Gibson have also benefited from KAT’s clearer eyes and growing ease with the overhead flip:
The double-team might stall the post-up, but KAT’s learning that the pass is still there:
He’s been making some pretty high-difficulty finds, like this skip pass that crosses the full width of the floor to hit Tyus Jones for three:
After collapsing the whole defense, he fakes back and forth in mid-air before threading the needle to Gibson:
Defending Towns is hard; if this encouraging trend holds up, it’ll soon be that much harder. There are also the aesthetic benefits. KAT’s game isn’t always the easiest on the eyes—lots of arthritic set shots and gawky drives that look like he stumbled on a tripwire as the ball clatters off the rim and glass and in. But this stuff? This is nice. He can’t fix all that ails the Wolves, but may he finally stretch his legs and be free, enjoying all the space James Butt and Thibs left vacant.