This is a column about Karl-Anthony Towns.
Strangely, this is also a column about retired baseball star Jim Edmonds, and injured Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
What do these three have in common?
Except that Towns is enjoying his second act as a scapegoated star Minnesota athlete, like Cousins.
And Towns, like Edmonds, is best observed with blinders on.
Start with Edmonds. He was a top prospect in the Angels organization who was dogged by questions about his enthusiasm and hustle. One scout issued a report calling him an "indulged child."
Once Edmonds broke into the big leagues, he won eight Gold Glove awards and hit 393 home runs, and only injuries kept him from becoming a sure Hall of Famer.
When Bill Bavasi became the Angels general manager, he noticed that many of his scouts downgraded Edmonds based on bad body language and indifferent facial expressions. So he told them to only watch Edmonds when the ball was in play. He actually told his scouts to turn away from the field between pitches.
With the ball in play, Edmonds was a dynamo. Once scouts ignored the way he would slouch between at-bats in center field, his performance carried him to the big leagues and a fabulous career.
That's how we should watch Towns. He has tempered his on-court complaints to officials and dampened his personality during interviews this year, but he is still capable of flailing his arms when not getting a foul call, or saying something on a podcast that will enrage Timberwolves fans.
So Wolves fans should apply the Edmonds rule. Only watch (or listen to) Towns when the ball is in play. What you'll see is an All-Star in his prime who has played unselfishly with his co-stars, and dominated when Anthony Edwards missed time with injuries.
Why should Towns and Cousins be mentioned in the same sentence?
Because they've experienced roughly the same timeline as vital Minnesota athletes, proving that there are, indeed, second acts in American sports, no matter what noted basketball analytics guru F. Scott Fitzgerald said.
Cousins and Towns arrived in Minnesota amid much fanfare and heightened expectations. Both proved efficient but failed to elevate their franchises, and became scapegoats for their franchises' failures. Both drew a blend of fair and unfair critiques.
Both have surged under their current coach and new systems.
Cousins, who had always struggled to elevate his record above .500 as a starting quarterback, went 13-4 in his first season under coach Kevin O'Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, and was among the best quarterbacks in the league this season before injuring his Achilles tendon.
Towns, one of many Timberwolves stars unable to win big with a seemingly cursed franchise, helped the Wolves challenge the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs last season, and has thrived this year under coach Chris Finch as the Wolves have built the best record (16-4) in the NBA.
Towns will have to re-prove himself in the playoffs this year. His story is not complete. But the chapter about him being too selfish or whiny to be a key player on a good team has been proved illegitimate.
Towns, a former All-Star center, embraced the acquisition of center Rudy Gobert, and has proved through 20 games this season that the two can play together because of Towns' unselfishness.
"Off the court, he's a great human being," Gobert said. "Since I got here he's embraced me as a friend and a brother. He's always been there for me, whatever I need, and I'm doing the same for him. I'm trying to be the best friend and brother I can be for him.
"On the court, it's about, I think, wanting to see each other shine, wanting to do all of the little things we can to help each other. When you create that bond, it's unstoppable. Adversity comes and it doesn't matter. You know that you trust each other. You know when one is down, the other is going to lift him up and push him.
"We're talking about me and KAT, but I think as a team, that's what I'm feeling right now. And I think that's a championship mentality."