The source of all this drama in Minessotta is Butler’s assessment that Wiggins and Towns are not championship caliber players. As both players are quite young, this is mostly an indictment on their mental makeup and attitude. They obviously have the physical attributes and the talent, but Jimmy saw something that made him want to bail on the two max players and we are seeing glimpses of it now.
Here are points per game from Towns so far: 16, 14, 17, 31, 12. What separates the fourth game from the rest of the season? That is the only game in which Jimmy Butler did not participate. The main criticism of Towns (and Wiggins) is a passive approach to the game. Towns especially was criticized for his performance in the playoffs last year, when he didn’t want the ball and was easily pushed out of position in the post. Now he is deferring to Butler and is completely out of sync. Shaq and the guys on Inside the NBA (on TNT) don’t like it
View this post on Instagram
This doesn’t mean Butler’s reaction and performance before the season is justified. Leaders make their teammates better and some players just don’t respond to a tough-love approach. There is more than one way to a championship and not everyone needs to be a Thibodeau/Butler kind of guy, but in a competitive environment, you have to be able to overcome issues and put your best foot forward when it gets tough.
So far, Karl-Anthony Towns is proving the critics right.