I don’t care that scientists tell us that summer technically ends on Sept. 22nd. My narrow view of the world informs me that the official end of summer is the last day of the Minnesota State Fair. It’s when kids begin to go back to school, the NFL season kicks off, and Tom Schreier brushes off his flannels and orders his first of many pumpkin-spiced lattes. It also means that the NBA season is right around the corner. The Minnesota Timberwolves begin training camp in three weeks and kick off the 2022-23 season on Oct. 19th against a Chetless Oklahoma City squad.
The Timberwolves had a kick-ass summer (except for A-Rod) as a franchise. They hired Tim Connelly to run the show, traded for Rudy Gobert, and broke the trade market while emerging as contenders. It’s one of the best summers in franchise history, and fans hope that continues into the season. But it wasn’t just the team that had some fun this summer. Coming off a hard-fought playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota’s stars took some well-deserved time off to rest and recharge for another playoff push this season.
Anthony Edwards starred in an Adam Sandler movie and a few well-received commercials. He also put in some gym sessions and reportedly looks like a “monster.” Gobert upgraded his surroundings from Salt Lake City to Minneapolis, broke the NBA, and is representing France at EuroBasket 2022. And D’Angelo Russell has been hitting the links and is expecting his first child with his girlfriend Laura Ivaniukas.
All these guys are having great summers, but no one’s summer compares to what Karl-Anthony Towns has been up to.
Looking at his Instagram feed over the last few months shows a summer any normal person who doesn’t make $34 million a year would dream of. The three-time All-Star started strong by visiting the White House and meeting President Joe Biden with his girlfriend Jordyn Woods. Then he signed a 4-year, $224 million contract extension and launched a three-month celebration around the world. Throughout this summer odyssey, KAT has:
- Been in Paris
- Taken in some matches at Wimbledon
- Attended Paul George‘s wedding in Italy
- Got to relax in Lake Como
- Hit the gym in Jamaica
- And spent any time in between at Nobu in Malibu
It’s a whirlwind tour that honestly sounds more exhausting than relaxing.
I’m sure the haters would like to say that he should be in the gym like Anthony Edwards, not parading around Europe with his model girlfriend. But nobody deserves a fun, relaxing summer away from basketball more than Towns. After everything he’s been through over the last two-plus years, KAT could take a year off from basketball or even retire, and Wolves fans should do nothing but applaud.
Towns knows more than anyone that you need a good balance on and off the court to succeed in the NBA. The grind is the grind, but everyone needs a break from their job now and then. Edwards just turned 21 and is still striving to become one of the next faces of the NBA. Therefore, it makes sense he’s sending out the proverbial “in the lab” highlight packages from his gym sessions, trying to put the NBA on notice heading into Year 3. Gobert is on a new team and trying to prove himself, which hasn’t gone super well at EuroBasket. And DLo has been in trade rumors all offseason and is preparing to become a father. If he wants to go golfing, let the man golf.
But Towns is a different cat. He’s heading into Year 8 after his best season as a professional. He has re-established himself as one of the 15-ish best players in the league. The only thing Towns has left to prove is that he can win at a high level. He fits in the team’s sweet spot where he has less to prove than Edwards and Gobert and more to play for than Russell. That should take some pressure off of KAT as Ant becomes the face of the offense and Gobert the defensive pillar. Towns can sit back and launch more threes instead of trying to go one-on-three in the paint for a tough basket. He can hang out on the perimeter and stop chasing 17 blocks a game on defense.
Towns will turn 27 in November and is entering his athletic prime. Hopefully, the summer vacation has helped him work out the issues that hampered him in the playoffs. Maybe finding some peace in a boat in Lake Como will cut down on the frustration fouls that limited his contributions against the Los Angeles Clippers and Grizzlies. KAT’s jumper still looks silky smooth, and he ensured we knew he was still getting his work in. But a rested, relaxed, and reborn Towns might be just what the Timberwolves need to contend in the West.
The Timberwolves had an amazing summer, and Towns had the best summer of the bunch. Now it’s time to get to work so we can all spend next summer celebrating a championship.