“Superstar”, “Special” and “Future Hall of Famer”. Those are just a few phrases that have been used to Describe Minnesota Timberwolves CenterKarl-AnthonyTowns. It is not every day that a 19-year-old is being regarded as “a guy who will have five rings on his hands” and “a future Hall Of Famer”, in just his rookie season. For Karl-Anthony Towns, however, the comparisons are a little different. Especially when you are one of the most NBA ready and impactful draft picks, in decades.
Originally drafted First Overall in 2015, Towns spent one year at the University of Kentucky. Towns proved to be a force in college averaging nearly a double-double per game all while leading Kentucky to a near perfect season until the team lost its first and only game to Wisconsin in the 2015 Final Four. Later that year, he would be named a consensus All-American and ranked top ten in Total Rebounds (5th), Blocks per Game (2nd), True Shooting Percentage (1st) Block Percentage (1st), Box Plus Minus (1st) and Player Efficiency Rating amongst all players in the SEC. In June, Towns would declare for the draft almost as quickly and as effortlessly as he makes the game of Basketball look.
The college success of the big man, to no surprise, would carry over into the NBA. In a time period where there is always much debate over whether top prospects will be able to make the jump to the NBA, in the case of Karl-Anthony Towns it was not a matter of how long it would take for him to reach his potential and become a star but, when. That question would be answered on October 28th 2015, his NBA debut.
Towns scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. The next night Towns had an offensive explosion, scoring 28 points and adding 14 rebounds as well as 2 assists. Towns would also score 30 or more points three times in his rookie season. 32 points in a loss against Utah on January 29th 2016, 30 on February 27th and a career-high 35 points in 35 minutes played in a win against Toronto on February 10th.
On May 16th 2016 Karl-Anthony Towns became only the fifth ever player to unanimously win the NBA Rookie Of The Year Award and the second member of the Minnesota Timberwolves to win the award in as many years. The praise for Towns goes beyond his amazing average of 18.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2 assists per game. What separates Towns from other NBA big men is his athleticism and mobility, shooting, rebounding and passing skills. Not to mention he is an excellent defender and an elite shot-blocker. Simply put, Towns is a Center with Guard like skills and abilities, he can truly do it all. He can even shoot the 3-pointer effectively. Last season Towns had a 54.2 field goal percentage and shout an astounding 81 percent from the free throw line. ESPN College Basketball analyst Seth Greenberg has compared him to: “A little more athletic Tim Duncan, with a little bit better range.” Another notable comparison for Towns was to legendary center Vlade Divac.
What is next for the young seven footer? Three words,”NBA All Star”. Karl-Anthony Towns should, and will be an All-Star this coming season. The only way to build on last seasons Rookie Of The Year and All-Rookie Team honors is for Towns to become an individual All-Star. Although he did participate in the Rising Stars Challenge last year in Toronto, it should be no surprise come February for Towns to be announced as a member of the Western Conference All-Star Team in New Orleans. Expect his numbers to increase as well. It is very possible that this season Towns averages at least 20 points and 15 rebounds per game.
As for Minnesota, the future is extremely bright. The Timberwolves will be a potential force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference in the near and distant future. The high-flying duo of Zach LaVine and former Rookie Of The Year winner Andrew Wiggins combined with recently drafted, ultra athletic, and talented guard Kris Dunn are all extremely important pieces for the Timberwolves as they move into a new era of youth and success. It is an exciting time, not just for Minnesota but for the NBA as a whole. It will be a gift to watch over the next few years as Towns and the young Timberwolves develop and mature. Hopefully, culminating in multiple championship wins for one of the NBA’s fastest rising teams young teams.