Karl-Anthony Towns showed big men have skills too as the seven-footer from the Minnesota Timberwolves beat five-foot-nine Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas in the final of the skills challenge.
“I like proving people wrong, so I’m glad I was able to make a lot of people wrong tonight,” said Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, who defeated Boston Celtics speedster and heavy-favorite Isaiah Thomas in the final. “I’m glad I was able to help the bigs come out with this trophy. This is bigger than me. This is for all the bigs out there, with the game changing the way it is, to show that bigs can stand up with guards skill-wise.”
Last January, after four consecutive games with single-digit points and rebounds, Towns was averaging a pedestrian eight points and six rebounds as a rookie for the Wildcats. No one was talking about him as the potential No.1 pick in the NBA draft.
Towns flew right by Okafor and became the obvious choice for the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 1 in the draft. Now halfway through his rookie season in the NBA, Towns has overwhelmingly validated that decision
Maybe the craziest part about Towns’ rookie season is that he’s posting significantly better individual numbers than he did when he was a freshman at Kentucky. A year after averaging 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds a game on 56.6% shooting at the NCAA level, Towns is averaging 15.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.8 blocks a game on 52.3% shooting for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The jump to the NBA is supposed to be the most difficult transition in a young player’s career and Towns is making it look easy.
The best way to describe Towns game is that he’s new breed of a big man that is changing the game of basketball. At 7’0 250 with a 7’3 wingspan, Towns is an elite athlete who can slide between either position in the front court and play at a high level on both sides of the ball. He’s a 20-year-old who came into the NBA with a developed post-up game, a developed face-up game, the ability to pick-and-pop out to the three-point line, attack a close-out and drive to the rim, finish in traffic, make plays through double teams, facilitate the offense out of the post and dominate the game at the front of the rim and on the boards
Towns can do everything there is to do on a basketball court at a fairly high level and he’s bigger and faster than the vast majority of opponents he faces even at the NBA level. The result is a guy who hasn't needed to adjust much at all to the NBA - the NBA has had to adjust to him.