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Anthony Edwards Names Wolves ‘Best Bet’ Guarding Nikola Jokic

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert guards Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

On Wednesday night, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic torched the Minnesota Timberwolves for 41 points on 16-20 shooting from the field.

Once again, Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert couldn’t guard Jokic if Minnesota’s season depended on it. Fortunately for them, all that was at stake on Wednesday was the No. 1 seed in the West. Nonetheless, the Timberwolves’ poor backline defense highlighted the continued absence of hybrid big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

Anthony Edwards: KAT is Timberwolves ‘Best Bet’ Guarding Nikola Jokic

Towns has been an inconsistent defender throughout his career. Nonetheless, Towns averaged 1.5 blocks per game over the first four seasons of his career. He’s landed in the top-10 in total blocked shots in three seasons. Furthermore, he has the second-most blocks in Timberwolves history (720).

A 7-footer listed at 248 pounds, Towns is agile for his size; catlike, if you will. He also has quick hands, whether swiping the ball down or blocking a shot attempt. Last but not least, he has savvy technique. He stays down, keeps his body between his man and the basket, and uses his wingspan to deter passes.

After the Timberwolves’ loss to the Nuggets, face of the franchise Anthony Edwards discussed Towns’ impending return. Out since Mar. 4 with a torn meniscus, Towns is expected to be back on the court before the end of the regular season.

“I mean, it would be a lot easier for everyone because he’s gonna get 25 points every night,” Edwards says. “Like, easy. He walks in the gym with 25 points. So it makes it a lot easier for everybody.”

“And another big body,” Edwards adds. “Another 7-footer. Another shooter. Just f******* everything. I mean, he can guard Jokic. He’s our best bet when it comes to guarding Jokic. So yeah, we need him.”

No player will turn Jokic into disgraced former first-overall pick Kwame Brown. Nonetheless, Towns has made many great defensive plays when guarding the two-time MVP.

Free Mind

Towns is no Kevin Garnett, lacking the size, tenacity, and upper-echelon athleticism that made Garnett a multipositional defensive weapon.

Yet, aside from his previously mentioned defensive skills, Towns is also free from the psychological pressure that Gobert faces when guarding Jokic. To that point, it often feels like Gobert wants to prove himself capable of guarding Jokic one-on-one. After all, he’s a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but Jokic had his number for a while.

Towns doesn’t have that same pressure. If he fails to stop Jokic from scoring, it has nothing to do with his legacy. He can play with a clearer mind, which leads to better decisions.


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