“It’s the championship or the bust.”
Recently extended Karl-Anthony Towns was quick to lay out his expectations for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season during a Friday afternoon press conference, the official announcement of his four-year supermax extension which will keep him in Minnesota for at least the 2026-27 season.
After a playoff run that brought fan enthusiasm back to the franchise, new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly brought in three-time All-Star Rudy Gobert to partner Towns in the court. forward and build on a resurgent season.
“I expect a lot of wins, for sure. Winning from everyone. We all want to win. It’s not just about blowing smoke, we’re really trying to bring Minnesota a championship” Towns said, “Rudy is going to be an integral part of us as a champion team, and my job is to help him as much as he is going to help me. His strengths are my weaknesses and his weaknesses are my strengths, so we can play against each other.
This show of faith in the Timberwolves’ front office towns – an aggressive acquisition of generational defensive talent after the most enjoyable season of KAT’s career – made the decision to commit to the franchise and the greater community an easy one. of Minneapolis in the long term, and the one he did as soon as he was entitled to it.
“[It] shows the faith that I have not only in Finch, but also in Tim and in this whole organization. I’m very excited about everything that’s going to happen. I’m very excited to see where this team is going,” Towns said. “I am very excited not only for this organization, but for this city. The city sucks, the people suck, the fans suck and it’s only fair to give the kids here who feel like they never got a chance to see championship basketball, let’s run for theirs give.
Towns thinks the organization has everything it needs.
“We have experience now, we have the right coach, we have the right front office. I think it’s time to go.
When expectations rise, the time for apologies expires.
“The innocence is gone. You know there’s always innocence in the team finding themselves and starting to figure out how to win and then you know, stacking a few wins on top of each other, but here we go “Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said Friday. “It comes down to building the right habits from day one. Expectations of success are the expectations you want, you have to accept them.
Finch and the organization are extremely confident about building those habits to reach their championship potential because a leader like Towns is at the heart of it all.
“[Towns] is really a kind of servant leader. He really wants the people around him to be treated well, well handled and well respected, and he’s always on the lookout,” Finch said. “So it was a joy to know him and to train him. That was really key to me settling here and being able to find my way.
In addition to the security Towns’ re-signing gives the front office to make a seismic move by acquiring Gobert, it makes life much easier for his coaching staff due to his drive to improve.
“Yeah, I think I’ll only be as good as my ability or my willingness to coach my best players, or our best players. And you know, KAT allowed me to coach him,” Finch added. “We hold them accountable. And that’s where your culture begins.
The coaching staff doesn’t have to spend time dealing with Towns’ personality either, as he works tirelessly, is a selfless leader with no big ego, and is willing to adapt as needed to help the team to win. An NBA team getting that from a superstar caliber player playing alongside three other top talents is by no means a given and raises the team cap.
“It makes things a lot easier, of course. If you have to spend a lot of time managing your squad from a personality perspective, that’s less time than you can actually spend on basketball… It’s just leadership by example. I think that’s one of KAT’s best qualities,” Finch said. “Being a leader by example and how you conduct yourself as a professional, how you let yourself be coached, what type of drain or strain do you or don’t exert on your organization. Everyone has to line up when your best players do it the right way.
It’s always been who Towns is. Through all the ups and downs he has endured as a member of Wolves, he has learned that being himself is the most crucial quality he brings as a leader. Who he is as a professional and a leader starts with his work ethic, and that’s why he’s ready to take on a key leadership role in taking this franchise to new heights. It all starts with work.
“First of all, never forget who I am. Just be me. It’s that simple. It’s the first thing, the first cornerstone of everything and being a leader is just being me …and work so hard like I always do,” Towns told Canis Hoopus. “Be the first in and the last out, showing them how to take care of their bodies and preaching, then doing too what I preach.”
That style of leadership — combined with his close familiarity with the eight returning members of the Timberwolves — will pair very well with the nature, maturity and playoff experience Gobert brings to Minnesota. The hope is that the duo will form a synergistic leadership dynamic in the locker room.
“What I love about Rudy’s leadership abilities is that he’s a huge presence. He’s not only 7-foot-2, but he’s also a serious person, serious about his job and serious about his body and serious about his desire to win,” Finch told Canis Hoopus of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.”[On a] young team that has not finished winning, everyone wants to win. They don’t always understand the right approaches all the time. You see it complacently after success or sometimes hiding from failures. From what I understand from new guys, it’s not in their DNA.
Obviously Wolves are only interested in acquiring top players with a strong work ethic, an understanding of what it takes to win in the regular season and playoffs, and a desire to play Minnesota. .
With the combination of Towns and Gobert, as well as Edwards, at the forefront of their culture, the Timberwolves not only have three players who are not only deeply committed to winning, but also committed and rightfully excited about the city and the franchise for the long term.
“My dream has always been to try and retire here and live every day of my NBA career as a Wolf…I feel great about the possibility of that happening,” Towns said when was asked if that was the most confident he had felt. spend his entire career in Minnesota.
This is in part due to his ties to the community and Towns’ love for a place he now calls home.
Nothing but Minnesota love ❤️
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) July 23, 2022
“It’s not just because of this place, I think it has a special energy; not just Target Center, but just Minnesota. There is a special energy when you live here. It’s something that brings a deep sense of comfort,” Towns added. “But just guys, you know, the people in this organization, the people in the locker room, the friends that I’ve been able to make here in Minnesota, it’s like home.”
The ringing endorsement from towns in a traditionally unattractive market certainly makes life easier for Connelly and the company in the front office.
“Organizations like ours, to have continuity and to have elite talent that’s locked in contractually, and wanting to be here, it’s pretty rare to see an unglamorous market have guys like that locked in,” said added Connelly. “Karl told me from the start that you’re going to love living in Minnesota…He really loves Minnesota. He’s been consistent in messaging for me and my family. We’re pretty excited because of guys like Karl who really like to call this place home.
Especially in a “small market,” the level of membership and enthusiasm for the community of a superstar-level player is a no-start for a team looking to make a real run for an NBA title. We saw him perform for Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee last summer, LeBron James in Cleveland and Tim Duncan for years in San Antonio. It’s a small market’s only hope of winning in a league that, as it currently operates, has no infrastructure in place to really deter players from seeking the big market lights.
“I can say with pretty good confidence that if you don’t have happy employees or co-workers, it’s hard to be successful,” Connelly told Canis Hoopus of Towns’ enthusiasm for being in the business. Minnesota. “It’s not realistic to expect 15 people to be happy because not everyone will be able to play, but your key guys have to want to be there and be integrated into the culture and system of the organization, and the key guys are all bought. in, so it gives you a chance to punch.
That buy-in and excitement starts with Towns and has certainly trickled down to the rest of the team.
“I feel like all the pieces are there for us to have a championship culture and a team here, so now it’s up to us to go out there and do it,” Towns said. “We are all extremely excited to play with each other, but we also have the same goal in mind. We all know it’s championship or bust. We’ll go out there and try to get it.
Towns’ level of commitment to a franchise that hasn’t surrounded him with an enduring winning team is impressive. This says a lot about his character as a leader, but also about his love and ties to Minnesota.
“I said since Flip called me on draft day and I was over there at Target Center, I said that was my home and I never intended to lie to you,” Towns said. “I really felt this place has been fabulous for me and my family and made this trip so fun and made this jersey so interesting.”
None of the excitement over the future of this franchise, record subscription sales, the Gobert trade or the first real opportunity to go out and win a title in nearly 20 years happens without KAT seeing its commitment to this franchise and this community through. Now it’s time for Towns to enjoy the fruits of his labor as he leads the team he gave his heart, blood, sweat and tears into a new era of eternal conflict.
“I’m just so honored to be able to put on this Timberwolves jersey for many years to come, and I’m honored to have the chance to do it with these wonderful guys next to me. The future with this team and this organization is shining, and it’s time to shine.