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This Is Just The Beginning For All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns was watching film on Tuesday evening with the Wolves in Portland, a day before taking on the Blazers. When he got out of film, his parents and girlfriend were waiting for him. The public relations team was also there and asked if he was ready for a conference call.
This is not a normal thing.
Towns knew something was up.
The “something” was Towns making his first NBA All-Star game that had just been announced on TNT earlier in the evening.
“It was cool. They were really excited for me,” Towns said. “I was excited, too. I really enjoyed the moment.”
Of course it was cool. Especially when Towns was left off last year’s team even though he averaged 22.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game when the team was revealed.
“It hurt last year not to make it. It took a lot of wind out of the sail because I thought I deserved to make it,” Towns said.
The Wolves had just 17 wins at that point in the season. That was likely the deciding factor.
Unlike last season, Towns didn’t make the All-Star Game his goal going into 2017-18. If he made it, great. His goal was to make a run in the playoffs with Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins at his side. He knew his numbers would take a hit. Sacrifices would have to be made for the greater good of the team.
“This year I didn’t even care,” Towns said. “I didn’t think about it at all.”
The Wolves have 31 wins this time around and sit tied for third in the West and fifth in all the NBA. And Towns’ numbers have taken a bit of a hit in terms of points. He’s averaging 20 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. The kicker is that Towns is taking 4.2 less shots per game than he did last season. Towns also has 41 double-doubles this season, first in the NBA.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said last season while stats are nice, winning is generally the tie breaker when it comes to getting players in the All-Star game. Towns will be joined with teammate Jimmy Butler in February’s All-Star festivities in Los Angeles. Had the Wolves been, say, the seventh seed in the West, chances are they don’t get both players in.
Winning changes everything, and Towns credits the rest of his teammates, not just Butler, with helping him get to the All-Star Game.
“I think that our teammates are all really All-Stars. The work they do night in and night out, not for me and Jimmy, for the greater good of everybody, makes our teams special.”
While that might sound cliché, that’s a shoutout to the rest of the Wolves, especially to Wiggins. Wiggins did not make the All-Star team, but has sacrificed shots (3.2 per game from last season) and has picked up the slack over the last two games with Butler out, averaging 34.5 points per game.
For Towns, it won’t be his last All-Star appearance, and chances are he’ll start a few over the next decade or so. But it's his first, and Towns is appreciating that.
“You never think that you’re going to be in the NBA, but be an All-Star as well,” Towns said. “I’m truly blessed by this opportunity. I’m very excited. I’m excited to see what we can do as team going into possibly the playoffs.”