Everyone Has Good Things To Say About Jimmy And KAT
Saturday marked media availability for the 2018 NBA All-Stars after their practice.
It’s kind of a weird event. A bunch of sweaty reporters cram themselves in front of a podium, hoping to get a quote on whatever it is they want to write about.
So, you want to work in sports, do you?
We were looking for quotes on our guys, Jimmy and KAT. And my goodness, were people ever generous.
My favorite came from DeMar DeRozan, who no longer has to worry about Jimmy Butler being in the Eastern Conference.
“Man, Jimmy is a hell of a leader in all ways. You can see him go to a young team like the Timberwolves and you see where they’re at because of Jimmy,” DeRozan told us. “Jimmy is one of those guys that can change the whole culture. His whole mindset is about winning. He don’t take no crap. He’s going to push you to win.”
We’ll end up using these quotes for longer stories in the future, but they were just so good, we had to loop you in right away, mostly because we love you so much. And because we have to write things on this trip otherwise they won’t send us back.
Al Horford, who has known Karl-Anthony Towns since his high-school days, has been impressed with Towns’ development in his third season.
“I’ve been just very impressed with Karl. His development has happened so fast that it’s just really surprised me,” Horford said. “Going from college he was a certain way. As soon as he got to the NBA, he’s just shot up and he’s like the prototypical big man for the future of the NBA. He does it all and it’s just been a lot of fun watching him grow as a human being.”
Butler and Towns have the Wolves fourth in the West, knocking on the door for third with a 36-25 record. DeRozan’s teammate, Kyle Lowry, has noticed the impact Butler joining the Wolves this offseason has had on the club.
“I think Jimmy’s been Jimmy and he’s been unbelievable,” Lowry said. “His leadership is the thing that tipped them to the next level, taken the Wolves to the next level. Just his overall leadership.”
Lowry was also very generous to Towns, calling him “one of the most talented players in the NBA.”
For Towns, he’s been more consistent and although 2018 marks his first All-Star game, his buddy and 3-point contest winner, Devin Booker, thinks he should have made it his first two years.
“Consistency is one thing,” Booker said. “Since his rookie year, I thought he should have been (an All-Star). An unbelievable talent. I’ve always known that, being a teammate of his. Just the approach he takes to the game. He wants to be the best and he acts as such. He trains as such. High character. Really close my friend. Always will be.”
And even though Towns and fellow Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis don’t seem to get along great on the court, Davis has an immense respect for Towns.
“He’s come a long way and he’s only going to get better,” Davis said.
Portland’s Damian Lillard and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge (former teammates) have both gotten multiple looks at the Wolves with Butler and they both agreed that it’s made a huge difference on the identity of the team.
The Wolves are 2-1 against Portland this season and 1-1 against San Antonio.
“I mean, they’re a completely different team when he’s on the floor,” Lillard said. “We’ve had a lot of success against them and since he’s gotten there, it’s been a lot more difficult.”
“He’s a competitor,” Aldridge said of Butler. “He kind of takes that underdog mentality. I know him pretty well. He just made them a little tougher, more grit.”
There’s plenty more work for these two to do before the season ends (and playoffs begin), but so far, their impact around the league has been noticed.