Karl-Anthony Towns is thinking big. Earlier this summer, the 20-year-old phenom said that he wants to spend his whole career with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns has capable co-stars in Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, a demanding coach in Tom Thibodeau and the best mentor imaginable in Kevin Garnett. In an interview with’s Jared Zwerling, Towns said that he plans to be a “much better leader” and he expects to make the playoffs:

NBPA: How do you see your game evolving?

KAT: I think it’s going to be much much better. I’ve had a whole season to learn under KG [Kevin Garnett]. I just feel that I can be a much better player. Having a whole year to learn and have the whole year to see for myself what it takes, I feel I’m going to be a much better leader from a player standpoint. I will take what I’ve learned in one season and build upon it. It’s going to be awesome.

NBPA: What are your personal and team goals for next season?

KAT: Personal goals are based on team. We’ve got to make the playoffs. We’ve got to do something special, and it’s up to us to continue to work and to make that happen.

Karl-Anthony Towns as a rookieKarl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves are on the rise. USATSI

Minnesota won 29 games last year. Its defense was extremely poor for the vast majority of the season. What Towns is talking about would be a massive, massive step forward. It would not, however, be unprecedented.

In 2009-10, the Oklahoma City Thunder won 50 games after winning just 23 the year before. Their young core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka is the closest recent comparison to the talent that the Wolves have stockpiled. It is not crazy to think that they could be on a similar path.

In between now and the start of the season, Minnesota will be one of the most discussed teams in the league. There’s a lot of hype around the Wolves because of Towns, Wiggins and the back-to-back dunk champion. It is pretty much assumed that Thibodeau will have them all playing good defense. If they’re going to make the playoffs, though, they will need significant individual development from each of their young players, decent bench production and the sort of team-wide consistency that wasn’t there last year.

Towns should certainly be confident, but let’s wait and see how things come together. For a team this young, missing the postseason shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a failure.

Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Karl-Anthony Towns on the Timberwolves: ‘We’ve got to make the playoffs’