Karl-Anthony Towns presented with the 2015-2016 KIA NBA Rookie of the Year Award
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 16: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves is presented with the Eddie Gottlieb trophy as he is named the 2015- 2016 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year during a press conference on May 16, 2016 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Rookie Of The Year Is Big, But Not Even Close To Everything For Towns

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager



It’s not exactly a surprise that Karl-Anthony Towns won the NBA’s 2015-16 Rookie of the Year Award. He won all six Rookie of the Month Awards and was the only rookie with All-Star type numbers. But unanimous? That’s hard to do, even if a player is deserving.

It’s only happened four other times before this year: Damian Lillard in 2012-13, Blake Griffin in 2010-11, David Robinson in 1989-90 and Ralph Sampson in 1983-84.

Most thought Towns deserved to be the unanimous pick for Rookie of the Year, but it takes one vote out of 130 to ruin that. Just remember, we’ve had some great seasons from Michael Jordan in the ‘90s and Stephen Curry became the league’s first-ever unanimous MVP this season.

Luckily for history, all of the first-place votes went to Towns.

“It was an honor and a privilege,” Towns said. “Like you said, it doesn’t happen very much. To have the chance to really (get all the first-place votes) was really fun.”

Of course, Towns is grateful for being named Rookie of the Year. He had one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the league. He knows at 20 years old, this kind of stuff doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work. It takes dedication. It takes missing family events, most recently a family wedding.

“When you start to look at his characteristics, obviously you need a lot of talent, but also his intelligence, his drive and his mental toughness,” said head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau. “When you have those qualities, you will improve. And then the fact that he’s so unselfish.”

Towns isn’t backing off of it, though. He knows that’s what it takes to succeed in the NBA. And while individual awards are nice, he’s more interested in team trophies. We’re looking at you, Larry O’Brien.

That’s why he sends his individual trophies and awards out east to his parents’ house.

And the Wolves are heading in the right direction to acquiring some team hardware. With Towns winning the Rookie of the Year Award this season and Andrew Wiggins last, the Wolves became the first team since the Buffalo Braves in 1972-73 (Bob McAdoo) and 1973-74 (Ernie DiGregorio).

Pair that with the arrival of Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden, the future looks very, very bright in Minnesota.

“I think we’re heading in the right direction,” Towns said. “… I think we’re going to do something special.”

Towns had a busy day. It started with a photo shoot, followed by a press conference and a two-hour media tour. The whole time he did it, he never forgot who drafted him. Towns was wearing a Flip Saunders’ pin on his suit jacket and gave the entire Saunders family, a group he calls his second family, all the love in the world during the press conference.

“Everything happened like a whirlwind,” Towns said on Saunders' passing. “It happened so quick, so sudden… I think we lived his vision this year on playing on how he wanted to play. Always playing hard… I think he would be proud of us.”

He remembers the past. He’ll never forget it.

But he knows the most important thing is what’s ahead. He’s put in plenty of work already, and he’s not afraid to put more in.

 We have a feeling this won’t be the last trophy for Towns. Hopefully he can store at least one of those trophies at his own house.


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