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Why Karl-Anthony Towns Can Become One Of The Best Centers Ever

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

One of things sports commentators and pundits try to avoid as much as possible is heaping praise on a player when they haven’t earned it yet. The compliments can go to their head and it dilutes the overall bonus of actually proving yourself by winning.

There are always a host of amazing NBA prospects coming through the ranks thanks to the great infrastructure in place; from high-school to college to the NBA, this process filters out the best talent for us to see and marvel at.

You want young players to have to grind hard to be given praise because the harder these players work the better quality basketball we get overall as each individual strives to gain an advantage over others in a battle for the top.

Having said all this, I do want to be slightly hypocritical. As the title says I think that Karl-Anthony Towns from the Minnesota Timberwolves can become one of the top 5 centers to have ever played in the NBA.

To get into the top 5 you have to battle against the likes of Kareem, Shaq, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. This is no easy feat and I fully respect the seriousness of my claim. Towns needs to win several titles, MVPs, Finals MVPs and sustain his current level of player for many years to come to get on that list, but I believe he will achieve all those things and cement himself as an all-time great, and here’s why.

3. Work Ethic

Garnett Towns

Towns is only 22 years old, he still has a lot to work on for his game to elevate to the next level but he has a huge age advantage on his side. Kareem played 4 seasons in college, Shaq played 2, Hakeem played 3 and Russell played 3. KAT only played 1 season at Kentucky which gives him at least 2 years more NBA experience at this age than everyone else. That’s 2 more years of a higher standard of competition, training and ability to concentrate on basketball.

During his final season in the NBA, the legend himself Kevin Garnett took it upon himself to take Towns under his wing. KG is one of the hardest workers in the history of the league and is famous for his grueling workouts; it shows how much heart he has.

KG even said that Towns could so anything he wants. “The Sky’s the limit,” he said on TNT. Garnett has had run-ins in the past with teammates of his who weren’t up to the task of keeping up with KG, but Towns matched him step for step.

This and the fact that KG apparently loves the young wolf to me shows that Towns will continue to improve his game for his entire career because he loves the game of basketball. This means Towns will continue to develop his already incredible skill on the court to the point where there’s just nothing you can do.

The 2 areas where Towns needs to up his game are his defense and passing. He defended FG% last season was around 64%. He needs to get that down to below 60% if wants to be known as a world-class rim protector. He also needs to start blocking more shots as well. Right now he’s at 1.4 for his career. This needs to 2.4 again for him to be truly recognized as a top-tier defender.

Towns in by no means a selfish player, but if he can work on his all-around game and help set up his teammates more then that will be another weapon he can add to his arsenal. 2.4 assists per game isn’t bad but he works on getting the ball at the elbow and feeding it to cutters or open shooters than he will find himself with more room to operate which is more room to devastate.

Like I said, Towns has an unbelievable work ethic and that’s something you can’t teach. With this going forward he will easily be thought of as the best center in the NBA next season. Towns struggled in his first Playoff series but there’s no doubt he will use this as a valuable learning lesson and as a springboard to launch himself forward. Centers hit their prime in their late 20s and early 30s so towns has at least 5-6 more years before he’s even at his best yet.

2. Skills

I don’t even know where to start on this one.

Towns on offense is just ridiculous. Not only is he a guaranteed 20-25 points a night but it’s the way he does it as well. He’s the only player in NBA history to average more than 20 points, 10 rebounds, hit over 100s and shoot over 40% from 3 in a season.

His career FG% so far is 54.3%. He hit 42.1% of his 3s last year which was 14th in the NBA. He hit nearly 86% of his free-throws and shot an amazing 50% from mid-range as well. Skill wise I think he’s better than Cousins and is easily the best shooter out of the legends I mentioned above.

With his work ethic I mentioned above those skills will be even more refined to the point of perfection. He could overtake Dirk Nowitzki as the greatest shooting big of all time whilst also incorporating the similar moves like Kareem and Hakeem showed during their career. He is the product of Dirk’s shooting ability, Hakeem’s low post moves and Shaq’s strength and he will only be 23 this calendar year.

He has at least a decade ahead of him where he will be getting better every single year and he’s also shown that he will be healthy (baring mishap) over that timespan given that he has yet to miss a single game in 3 years.

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1. Destiny

Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Where you rank on the all-time list of greatest players often comes down to what the story of your career was and what challenges you overcame. Kareem was the all-time leading scorer and part of the Showtime Lakers. Shaq was the most dominant force the game has seen and again brought the bright lights back to Los Angeles.

Towns has a great chance to build his own mythical NBA story because he plays for the small-market Minnesota Timberwolves. If he can lead Minnesota to a title then, like LeBron James with Cleveland, that will cement his legacy as a true legend of the city.

The Wolves need to get rid of Andrew Wiggins. He doesn’t have the motor needed plus Towns needs more shooters around him to spread the floor. The Wolves need to somehow get their hands on a great point guard to form a potent duo with Towns and fill the floor with shooters to compliment him.

The Rockets with Hakeem in the 90s ran a great in and out game where the go-to option was Hakeem but there were plenty of options to go to through him. The same can be done for Towns who is primed to be the centerpiece of it all.

Like I said above I prefer not to heap praise on young players when they haven’t won anything yet, but sometimes the situation is just too tantalizing, too tasty for you to do otherwise and I believe this is a prime example of that.