Karl-Anthony Towns has been held to 17 points or fewer in four of five games this season, which could be cause for alarm ... or just a reason to hit pause. He has 82 points total (16.4 average) in five games — the same as he scored in Games 8-12 last season. He scored 85 points total (17.0 average) in Games 15-19 and just 76 in Games 21-25.

I'll stop there, but this shows how things are more magnified at the start of the year. Do you remember thinking KAT struggled offensively (at least to the degree you do now) in any of those specific five-game stretches last year?

But the subtext of this season can't be ignored. If Towns thought Jimmy Butler would be gone by now and that the offense (heck, the whole team) would be centered around him in a more positive environment, that hasn't happened.

And if that's the root of what's going on here — if this is more than just a small sample size slump — something needs to give.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. mrand@startribune.com.