Is Karl-Anthony Towns Actually a Good Defender Now?

There hasn’t been anyone doubting Karl-Anthony Towns’ offensive skills since the Minnesota Timberwolves star began his NBA career. But his defensive skills? That’s a different story.

The 1st overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft has averaged 22.3 points on 53.7% in his first four seasons in the league. He has kicked off his 5th season with a whopping 32 points per game through the first 3 outings. Amazingly he’s shooting almost 10 times from three each night, making 51.7% of his shots; good enough for a 64.8% eFG percentage.

But more impressive may be Towns’ rim protection stats, per u/so-cal kid on Reddit.

Last season, Towns’ “added” to his reputation as a poor rim protector and lazy defender, allowing opponents to shoot 57.2% at the rim on 6.3 attempts. This season? He’s defending 9.7 field goal attempts per game near the rim, but allowing just 34.5% to go in. His block shots is up to 2 per game from 1.6, with a career high 5.2% blocking percentage compared to 4.2% last season.

So is Towns, a 2-time All-Star, on his way to breaking the ceiling on defense, transforming from a huge offensive threat into a two-sided monster? It’s easy to overreact through the first 3 games, but perhaps has turned a page when it comes to his defense, which means great news for the Timberwolves.

Karl-Anthony Towns
Image via Minnesota Timberwolves Facebook page