Karl-Anthony Towns has been in stunning form and found himself in ninth place on the MVP rankings of the NBA.
He moved up from the 10th spot in the prior week's standings, but Towns has hardly been mentioned all season as a candidate for the award despite the surprising success of the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.
For context, the Timberwolves finished with the sixth-worst record last season, as Towns and D'Angelo Russell missed significant time, and the role players weren't as developed as they are this season.
Now, the Timberwolves are heading to the play-in tournament at least, but are closer in competition to the contending teams in the Western Conference this season than the other play-in team. Barring a terrible playoff showing, the Wolves should be able to win the play-in game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Minnesota are currently sixth in offensive rating, first in points per game, first in 3-point makes per game, fourth in blocks per game, and fourth in steals per game. They're a middle-of-a-pack team defensively but have all the offensive weapons to keep even the best defenses on their toes.
The Wolves' success this season has started and ended with KAT, setting the tone for when he needs to get a bucket and also allowing other teammates to get an equal piece of the pie.
Averaging close to 25 points per game on nearly 53 percent shooting, which includes a 41 percent clip from three on about five 3-point attempts per game, Towns has been as efficient as they come while providing superstar production.
Case For The MVP
Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all considered frontrunners for the MVP. However, Towns cannot be ignored.
Towns has gone through a lot in recent years, between his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, losing her life to COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, and in his professional basketball career, with the Timberwolves not setting their former first overall pick for optimal success.
But with the Wolves finally acquiring the right pieces to surround their franchise player with and hiring a coach in Chris Finch that brings the best out of his players, Towns has been able to lead this team to one of the better records in the league in a seemingly overnight process.
The numbers Jokic, Embiid, and Antetokounmpo are better than what Towns has put up this season, but it's not all about the numbers. Towns literally helped turn a moribund franchise last season into a team that can make legitimate noise in the playoffs this season.
While Towns is highly unlikely to actually earn the award this season, a further improvement to his numbers and leading the Timberwolves to a top three or four seed in the West could do the trick in helping him earn the award next season.