The future of the Minnesota Timberwolves is Karl-Anthony Towns (although not alone), and with that in mind, they’re not planning on giving him too much time on the floor during his rookie season, in fear of wearing him out.
The 8-11 Timberwolves are starting Towns in every one of their games, but playing only 27.7 minutes per game. He’s playing as a center the entire time, not sharing the floor with Gorgui Dieng, playing 21.3 minutes a night, with very little overlapping between the two. Dieng isn’t a bad backup to have and not a bad 21st overall pick to have landed, but the fans in Minnesota, tired of waiting for the playoffs (since 2004), want to see more of Towns, who is averaging 14.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
Towns is the real deal, but Sam Mitchell isn’t bending. The plan is for Towns to develop at the pace the Timberwolves have set for him, and that means a minute-count they won’t be budging from. Dieng is averaging 8.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and the net rating for both players is about the same. The Timberwolves aren’t giving up much by resting Towns more minutes than another team would.
Towns or Dieng, Minnesota are on a three-game losing streak. This team may not be built to make the playoffs right now, but there has to be a point when it’s no longer a build and more of a push towards a best record scenario. They’re not tanking, but don’t be surprised if they fall into another mid season rut like a year ago to see less minutes for their better players, shut down for mysterious injuries. They’re a fun team to watch, but until their best players get more minutes and someone like Kevin Garnett is no longer part of the rotation, the Timberwolves are somewhat handicapped.