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Preseason Predictions | Karl-Anthony Towns Will Enter MVP Conversations
Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns continues on the path to being an NBA great.
Last season, at age 22, Towns led the league in double-doubles while making his first All-Star team and All-NBA Third Team. Towns averaged 21.3 points (20th in NBA), 12.3 rebounds (fourth) and 2.4 assists per game last season, shooting a career-high 54.5 percent from the field (12th), 42.1 percent from the 3-point line (14th) and 85.8 percent from the free-throw line.
When you add all of those together collectively, those numbers are insane. A big man who can score, rebound and shoot efficiently from pretty much anywhere. Centers from the 1980s are scratching their heads.
When it comes to win shares, Towns ranked second in the league to only James Harden, who won the league’s MVP. Behind Towns on the list was LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nikola Jokic and Kevin Durant.
Towns is what makes Minnesota’s offense go, and the hope is that he’ll get more shot attempts (just 14.3 last season last season) in 2018-19 given how efficient he was last season. While Jimmy Butler is what makes Minnesota’s defense go, Towns is what makes the Timberwolves offense so great. Led by Towns, this unit ranked fourth in offensive rating last season.
Throughout his three-year career, Towns has averaged 21.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting 54.3 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from the 3-point line and 83.6 percent from the free-throw line.
For a player his age to already have such an impact on the court is an extremely rare thing in NBA history.
Per Basketball Reference, Towns’ first three years of his career compare to Bill Russell, Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal, Dave Cowens and Hakeem Olajuwan, all Hall of Famers. Others include Dan Issel, Ed Macauley, Ed Sadowski, Wes Unseld and Walt Bellamy. Only Sadowski (who played from 1946-1950) isn’t part of the Hall of that group.
Of course, for Towns to enter MVP conversations in the league and not just his team, he’ll need to improve on defense, something that he’s challenged himself on and told the media to “quote him” on that.
The Timberwolves gave him a contract extension prior to the season, which came as a surprise to absolutely nobody.
For the Timberwolves and their fans to have a player of his caliber locked up for another five years is special and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Stars like Towns don’t come around very often.