Web Editorial Associate
Karl-Anthony Towns didn’t have the night he hoped he would in Minnesota’s first game against the Rockets on Sunday. The Wolves’ talented young center was held to only eight points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field. He did snag 12 rebounds and had a monstrous blocked shot in the second half, but this is certainly not the playoff debut Wolves fans (and Towns himself) were looking for.
In times like this it is important not to panic. Towns has been held to under 10 points only twice this season, and only 12 times in his career. It is very difficult to contain Towns this well, and Wolves fans should fully expect him to bounce back. However, the Wolves are not just relying on the hope that Towns comes out stronger on Wednesday, they’re looking at ways to help him adjust his game.
“Run the floor, kick the ball out, re-post, keep moving around, search it out, get to the offensive board,” said coach Tom Thibodeau when asked how Towns can be more involved. “You got to sprint around. You learn, when teams are double-teaming you, you have to make the right play, so you have to get to positions where it’s difficult for them to double team. Transition’s a big part of that and you’ve got to run the floor.”
He also talked about how Towns can do better at exploiting double-teams.
“It’s not a one-on-one game,” said Thibodeau. “If they’re going to double team that means it’s going to be easier for other people, and if they’re going to switch you have to make the right read. So, if we’re making the right plays the game will tell you who’s going to get the shots, and if we take good shots we’re going to score.”
Towns will certainly have to be more aggressive exploiting matchups against smaller players. The Rockets switch a lot on defense, so he’ll get more of those opportunities:
More of this, Karl! So dominant against smaller players in the post. pic.twitter.com/o8D9l0Q3ZE
— Julian Andrews (@julian_andrews_) April 16, 2018
After the game Towns acknowledged he needs to play better on both sides of the ball and credited his teammates for making shots. But for Towns to be a franchise cornerstone, he needs to show up in big moments. Luckily for the young star, he has many more opportunities to make this game a blip on the radar.
Towns’ coaches and teammates have his back, and they’ll certainly help him get more quality looks in Game 2.