Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns Named NBA Western Conference All-Stars
Minneapolis/St. Paul – Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler and forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns were today named NBA Western Conference All-Stars by the National Basketball Association. Butler and Towns were named to the team as reserves via balloting by NBA head coaches. Towns and Butler become the 6th and 7th Wolves players to earn NBA All-Star honors, joining Tom Gugliotta, Kevin Garnett, Wally Szczerbiak, Sam Cassell and Kevin Love. Butler and Towns become the fourth pair of teammates to be named NBA All-Stars in the same year in Wolves history (Garnett/Gugliotta, 1997; Garnett/Szczerbiak, 2002; Garnett/Cassell, 2004).
For Butler, this will be his fourth NBA All-Star appearance, all as a reserve and first with the Wolves. Towns earns his first NBA All-Star appearance after appearing in the Rising Stars Challenge in each of the last two seasons. The 2018 NBA All-Star Game will be played at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 18.
Butler and Towns have led the Wolves to a 31-18 record this season, including a 24-7 mark vs. the Western Conference, as Minnesota currently sits atop the Northwest Division and in the No. 3 position in the Western Conference. The Wolves are the first team in the NBA this season to match its win total from the 2016-17 campaign (31). Minnesota has won 12 more games than at this point last year, good for the largest win increase in the NBA. The Wolves are 14-5 over their last 19 games, a span that includes two separate five-game winning streaks and the Wolves’ second-ever 5-0 homestand. Minnesota currently owns a nine-game winning streak at Target Center, the team’s longest single-season home winning streak since the 2003-04 Wolves won 14 straight home games from Dec. 16, 2003 to Feb. 6, 2004.
In his first campaign with Minnesota, Butler has registered averages of 21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 36.9 minutes per game this season while shooting a career-best 47.6% from the floor, 35.4% from long distance and a career-high 87.5% from the free throw line. Butler’s 2.04 steals per game average is a career-high and places him 4th in the NBA. Over his last 18 games, Butler has led the Wolves to a 12-6 record, averaging 25.3 points on 51.1% shooting and 5.4 assists per game while going 138-for-154 (89.6%) from the free throw line during the stretch. The Tomball, Texas native has led the Wolves in scoring a team-high 21 times and has posted seven 30+ point games. Butler has also led the team in assists on 15 occasions, including dishing out a season-high 10 Nov. 28 vs. Washington. The 6-8 forward currently ranks 19th in scoring, T-26th in assists, T-20th in free throw accuracy and 4th in minutes.
Butler scored a season-high 39 points, including a franchise-record 12 in overtime, in Minnesota’s 128-125 win over Denver on Dec. 27. Butler netted 20 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter in a 112-106 victory over the L.A. Clippers on Dec. 3, becoming the 14th player in franchise history to score 20+ points in a single quarter. Butler registered 26 points, 10 rebounds and five steals Nov. 19 vs. Detroit, joining Kevin Garnett and Tom Gugliotta as the only Wolves players to accumulate those numbers in a single game.
Towns has appeared in every game this season, continuing his ironman streak to 213 contests, the second-longest active streak in the NBA. In 48 games this year, Towns has tallied averages of 20.0 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.55 blocks per contest while shooting 53.7% from the floor, a team-best 41.2% from long range and 83.9% from the free throw line. His 41 doubles-doubles lead the NBA and he has put up double digit scoring and rebounding totals in 14 straight games. Over his last 37 games, Towns is shooting 44.4% (60-of-135) from long range. The Edison, New Jersey native was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 20, his third such honor. The 7-0 forward/center has paced the Wolves in scoring 20 times and rebounding on 42 occasions. Towns currently ranks 25th in scoring, 5th in rebounding, 17th in field goal percentage, 23rd in three-point accuracy, 8th in blocks and 16th in minutes.
Towns has scored 30+ points four times this season, including a season-best 33 vs. Oklahoma City on Oct. 27. He set his career high in rebounds earlier this season by grabbing 23 Jan. 5 at Boston, part of the fourth career 20-point/20-rebound performance of his career. Towns paced the Wolves in scoring, rebounding and assists when he put up 23 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists Jan. 12 vs. New York, narrowly missing out on the second triple-double of his career. Towns netted 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and five blocks Dec. 14 vs. Sacramento, joining Kevin Garnett as the only Wolves players to collect 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ blocks in a single game.