NEXT LEVEL: Karl-Anthony Towns (BBALLBREAKDOWN)
Karl-Anthony Towns showed that he has the potential to be the next great big man in the NBA as a rookie, here’s a look at how he can fulfill that potential.
Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t always thought of as a surefire, can’t miss prospect; but in two years’ time he has made himself into one of the most talented and versatile big men in basketball.
After dominating all of college basketball as a freshman, he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and went on to have as good of a rookie year as any player in recent memory.
Towns’ can play both inside and outside on offense. He likes to use jump hooks when in the post, and his jumper not only looks picturesque, but has range out to the three-point line (shot 34 percent from deep as a rookie).
Defensively is where he really shines at the moment. At 7 feet and 244 pounds with a 7’4″ wingspan, Towns is the type of long and athletic big that is a force protecting the paint. He averaged 2.6 blocks per 100 possessions, and though his Defensive Rating (DRtg) of 106 is higher than Tom Thibodeau would like some of it can be chalked up to lack of experience — for comparison it took perennial First Team All-Defense selection, DeAndre Jordan, six seasons to get his DRtg under 100.
Towns also has the ability to guard on the perimeter, even switching onto a player like Steph Curry when called for. The Timberwolves were one of the first teams to implore the “switch everything” defense on the Golden State Warriors last year, and it was because they could trust Towns to defend any player on the court that it was successful.
With a Rookie of the Year award in his pocket and Minnesota bringing in Thibodeau, things are lining up perfectly for KAT. However, the 20-year-old cannot rest on his laurels. There are pieces of his game that could use strengthening.
Below, using examples of some of the best players currently in the NBA, I have mapped out ways that Towns can truly become the modern age big man. It is unlikely that Towns will add all of these skills to his game in one offseason, but if he is able to steadily add them over time it won’t be long before the potential that everyone sees in him is fulfilled.
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