It was just over a year ago that Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, two good friends, spoke glowingly about the opportunity to play with each other. The Wolves even held a press conference downtown at the City Center for Skyway lunchgoers to see as they walked past. That was how momentous the occasion was for Russell's arrival in Minnesota.
But Russell and Towns, for several reasons, have only played five games together. The latest reason being that Russell has to have arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss four to six weeks.
Towns spoke for a lot of fans in venting his frustration at the fact over a year has passed and they have barely played together.
"Obviously we want to play with each other," Towns said. "We expressed to each other how much playing with each other means to us and the cards haven't been dealt well for us. I finally come back and now he's out, so he was emotional too because it's been bothering him, wanting to play together."
One of the main questions moving forward for the Wolves is how President Gersson Rosas will build a team around Towns and Russell. It's hard to evaluate what the Wolves have along those lines if Towns and Russell aren't playing together, and it creates some uncertainty in the immediate future of the franchise. It's a reality Towns acknowledged after Tuesday's loss to the Lakers.
"Five games, that's not enough," Towns said. "That's not enough of a sample for us. We want to play every game possible with each other. It's just unfair we keep having setbacks. Every single time when it's about to be the time to play with each other we always have a setback somewhere."
Towns has had two wrist injuries and a battle with COVID-19 that has kept him off the floor for much of the last year. Now he's healthy and Russell is hurt for a stretch of time.
Guard Ricky Rubio said the Wolves have tried to make the best of a bad situation around their injuries and ailments.
"Of course we could think what could happen if KAT and D-Lo could've played more than five games together, two all-star players and you want to build around them," Rubio said. "But it's what we've got here, what we've got right now, and we've got to move forward."