Wolves coach Sam Mitchell said Tuesday that, when it comes to rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns, every game is still a learning experience. “Every game he’s seeing something he hasn’t seen before,’’ Mitchell said.
Well, Towns’ education continues tonight when he’ll be matched up with Miami’s up-and-coming center Hassan Whiteside in what could be his biggest challenge of the season so far. After having shown sparks of what he was capable of in the past Whiteside, in his fourth season, has played very impressively. Through four games he is shooting 76 percent from the field, the best four-game start to a season in the NBA since 1986. He is averaging 15.8 points, 11 rebounds and is third in the league with 3.5 blocks per game.
“He’s a great shot-blocker,” Towns said after the morning shootaround Thursday. “I’m just going to out there and compete. Just continue to do what I do.’’
So far that’s been pretty good, averaging 17.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in his first three games. That said, Whiteside will be a challenge. Especially with the way Whiteside and Miami guard Dwyane Wade play the pick-and-roll; Wade has even compared Whiteside’s ability in that part of the game to playing with Shaquille O’Neal. The two combined for 45 points in a victory against Houston in which the Heat rallied from 21 points down.
“We’ve got a great game plan set up for this,” Towns said. “if we execute it we should be fine.’’
Here are some other nuggets from this morning:
--Kevin Martin is back after missing two days of practice because of a loss in the family. He will play tonight, but said he might have to take another short absence in the near future.
--The other part of the Whiteside-Wade pick and roll challenge is guarding Wade, something that will fall to Andrew Wiggins. “He’s still playing great, still in attack mode,” Wiggins said. ‘There really isn’t anything he can’t do. I just have to try to play the best defense I can and try to contain him.’’