Early Talent: NBA Assesses Karl-Anthony Towns

For the past handful seasons the NBA has shifted into a league that is hypnotized into placing a higher value on point guards over every other position on the court. Most wing players are interchangeable, as they fill the gap of defense and 3 point shooting. The league over the past decade has slowly transitioned from post up player with centers and power towards, to ball movement that is enabled by its bigger players being able to handle the ball cohesively with its guards. Players like Kevin Durant, Kristahaps Porzingus, LeBron James, Kawahi Leonard, Justise Winslow, and Draymond Green look like typical small forwards, but they have logged plenty of minutes as powers forward slot and in the case of Draymond Green the center position.

Last year, Minnesota selected Karl-Anthony Towns with its first pick in the draft. The right handed seven footer from Kentucky was looked at as having many questions surrounding how he would transition in the NBA. He was not a little out shooter like a Channing Fyre or Kevin Love, but he did show finesse with his jumper in the style of Lamarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph. His frame and build allowed him to use his footwork to effectively drain hook shots in college, but some organizations questioned if he could last a whole year playing down low until he increased his muscle mass. Towns was applauded for being able to make his free throws at a rate of 80% or higher, which gave scouts confidence in his ability to evolve on the offensive end.

Those questions, before the draft, have been put to rest now after Karl-Anthony posted one of the best rookie season in over 10 years. Putting him in the same stratosphere as Patrick Ewing, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, David Robinson, Shaq, and Chris Webber during their respective rookie seasons. In the history of Rookie of the Year winning centers, Towns ranks as third in true shooting percentage (.590%),behind only David Robinson and Buck Williams. Towns, also has the highest 3 point percentage of any rookie center at .341%. To top it all off, Towns was 15th highest for rookie centers when it came to total rebounds per 36 minutes with 11.7. Putting him next to Shaq, Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

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