The Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies are currently tied (2-2) in their first-round series that's gone back-and-forth. A couple of players have stood out and shined bright in this series, including Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Anthony Edwards, who willed their teams to victory.
The surprising superstar for the Timberwolves
With the rise of sophomore sensation Edwards, many NBA analysts, including Kendrick Perkins, are now questioning Karl-Anthony Towns. In the past seven years, Towns hasn't been a consistent winner in his career, and his performance in this series has shown why.
There have been instances where KAT gets into foul trouble way too early or has one wrong decision after another in multiple crucial moments.
The Timberwolves have also gotten most of their scoring from Edwards, who is currently averaging 24.8 points on 48.5% shooting and 4.8 rebounds so far in this series. Minnesota has gotten a fair amount of contribution from KAT, who is averaging 21.3 points and 10.8 rebounds so far, but it's been so inconsistent to the point that he's being called out on national television.
"Karl Anthony Towns is not the franchise player of Minnesota, that would be Anthony Edwards. Edwards walks around and carries himself like the franchise guy. He has the key to Town's bag. It's too many times that we've seen KAT fall short and he started being the true definition of a front-runner," Perkins said on ESPN's First take.
KAT is not helping himself
Perkins seems to be fed up with Towns because of his behavior in the past four games. It's also the talking point of the NBA community online, who have clowned KAT for his front-running attitude. KAT has this nack for talking a lot of smack without backing it up with this performance.
"He was mic'd up during the game and when the Timberwolves were up by 16 or 17 points, we heard clips of him sayings 'Yeah, told you it's going to be different when they get to Minnesota' all that woofing and barking and you come up small. You [Stephen A. Smith] are mad at KAT but to me, this is expected. Because if a person shows you who they are you better believe them and this is who KAT is. He talks a lot of smack, he may show up once every two games but in other games, he shies away and disappears when it's money time and the game gets close."
Kendrick Perkins, ESPN's First take
Perkins is correct in pointing out that Edwards has more potential to become the franchise player in Minnesota. Edwards has made a significant leap in his sophomore year, averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game, and has become the team's go-to player in clutch situations this season.
If there's something in Edwards' game that's not present in KAT's, it's his ability to come up big in high-stakes games. In this first-round series for the Timberwolves, Edwards has been their most valuable player - the self-proclaimed "best big man shooter ever" is the clear No.2 guy.