The Minnesota Timberwolves reshaped their roster in one of the biggest moves any team made this offseason, hoping to build a championship contender. They have plenty of skilled players on their team who all have a lot to prove, but which of those players has the most to prove this season?
During the offseason, D’Angelo Russell’s name had been involved in numerous trade rumors as a result of his most recent, concerning playoff performance. The former second-overall pick struggled with low shooting percentages, poor shot selection, and turnovers. Now, this is his season to prove that he belongs on a Minnesota Timberwolves roster with championship aspirations and can have a positive impact.
Several players on the Minnesota Timberwolves have a lot to prove this season.
Minnesota’s second starting guard, Anthony Edwards, is also a player who has a lot to prove, simply because of the high expectations everyone has for the former number-one pick. He is expected to take another leap after already being great during his first two seasons in the league. Edwards is hailed by many as the new face of the franchise and a future superstar. That is a lot of pressure for such a young player, and now it is up to him to prove that he will not crumble under it.
The centerpiece of Minnesota’s big offseason move, Rudy Gobert, however, has much more to prove than either of the two guards. The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up almost all their assets to get Gobert on their team and are paying him handsomely now. The Timberwolves were willing to do all that because they believe that Gobert will improve their defense, so now the big man has to prove that he is not only worth all that money and all the trade assets but can also live up to the challenge of transforming Minnesota’s defense.
While Gobert certainly has a lot of pressure on him to prove his worth, Karl-Anthony Towns is still the player who has the most to prove on this Timberwolves roster. Towns was the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, and the Timberwolves hoped that he would be able to save their struggling franchise.
The pressure is on Karl-Anthony Towns to prove that he can carry the team.
Since then, Towns has been a three-time All-Star, and a two-time All-NBA player and proclaimed himself to be the best-shooting big man to ever play in the NBA. He only led the team to the playoffs twice, though, and they failed to win a series both times. Despite that, Towns is already on the second year of his max extension since the end of his rookie contract and needs to prove that he is worth that money and that he can be the player Minnesota needs him to be to win.
Towns has always faced a lot of pressure, but it will be amplified this season. Minnesota realized that they could not expect Towns to bring them a championship all by himself and acquired Gobert mainly to allow Towns to flourish on the court and be his best self. Now, in what may be one of the most important seasons in recent franchise history, Towns has to prove that he can take another step forward and excel in all offensive areas.
He will feel this pressure, especially when the playoffs come around. Towns has many doubters, claiming that he is not made for the playoffs and cannot perform in high-pressure situations. Last season, he started off the playoffs well with two double-doubles and finished it with three more, but what his critics focus on is Game 3 of that series against the Memphis Grizzlies. In that game, Towns faded away as he scored only 8 points and finished with more fouls than shot attempts.
For Town’s critics, this proves that his inconsistency from the 2018 playoffs was not a one-time occurrence, and he will continue to be inconsistent in future runs too. This season, Towns can prove his doubters wrong and show that he can indeed play and compete at the highest level. The argument that Towns actually has less to prove than Edwards and Gobert exists too because Edwards will be the center of the offense while Gobert leads the defense.
But Towns isn’t going to let himself fade into the background like that. He was projected to be the best player in his draft class and to be Minnesota’s knight in shining armor.
If he really wants to be that player, he cannot play second string to a 21-year-old newcomer, even if Edwards turns out to be one of the league’s next superstars in the future. This season, Towns has to prove that he can be the star he is expected to be and lead his team through a successful season.