The Minnesota Timberwolves are regarded by many as a team on the rise, and it’s an assessment that Karl-Anthony Towns very much agrees with.
The second-year big man hosted an impromptu Q&A session on Twitter Thursday night, and he was bullish in his prediction for Minnesota this coming season.
It’s been a long time since the Timberwolves made a run at the playoffs, but with new basketball czar Tom Thibodeau running the show and a gifted young core, there is an expectation that Minnesota will take a noticeable step forward this coming season. Some of their longer-tenured players have become frustrated with the stagnation, but this is a franchise that very much appears to be headed in the right direction. May indicates a pretty significant playoff run for a team coming off a 29-win season, so Towns is definitely being bullish, but you have to like the confidence.
Karl-Anthony Towns won over fans for the best showing at the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday.
Towns, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, represented his Minnesota Timberwolves at the lottery. Around his neck he was wearing the wedding band of the late Flip Saunders:
Saunders died on Oct. 25, 2015 after losing his battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was the Timberwolves’ head coach in 2014-2015 and from ’95-’05.
Towns’ gesture was a pretty special one from a talented, up-and-coming player.
It looks like the Rookie of the Year Award will be headed to Minnesota for a second consecutive year.
According to a report by ESPN’s Marc Stein on Sunday, the Wolves will hold a news conference on Monday morning where they are expected to formally announce center Karl-Anthony Towns as the 2015-16 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Despite an absolutely stacked crop of talented rookies this season, Towns managed to stand head and shoulders above the field. He averaged 18.3 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 2.0 assists per game, 0.7 steals per game, and 1.7 blocks per game on 54.3 percent shooting from the field while starting all 82 games for Minnesota.
With a mature post game, an impressive handle for a big man, excellent defense in both isolation situations on the perimeter and protecting the rim, as well as a silky smooth jump shot that can extend out to the three-point line on occasion, it’s hard to pinpoint even a single tangible weakness in Towns’ game. At just 20 years old, he might already be a top-five center in the NBA today and will only continue to get better from here.
This would mark back-to-back Rookie of the Year Awards for Minnesota as Towns’ teammate Andrew Wiggins took home the honors last season.
Image Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Two of college basketball’s premiere programs met on Saturday with Kentucky getting the better of Louisville 75-73 at Rupp Arena. With the Wildcats producing numerous NBA players in recent years, one of them took the opportunity to gloat. However, the response he received was one he probably wasn’t expecting.
Karl-Anthony Towns played in last year’s game between Louisville and Kentucky, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Now he’s playing for the Timberwolves and making a strong case to be the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. On Saturday, Towns was keeping an eye on his former school and decided to troll teammate Gorgui Dieng (who attended Louisville) after Kentucky’s victory.
Dieng responded about the best way he could.
Not only he did Dieng invite Towns to take a look at the championship ring he won in 2013, Dieng hit him with the “my son” too. Towns did issue a response, though.
It is humorous, but Dieng clearly wins this round.
The Timberwolves selected Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick in this year’s NBA Draft. On Sunday, he made an appearance wearing the jersey of one of Minnesota’s other professional sports teams.
Towns was at Target Field to throw out the first pitch prior to the Twins’ game against the Angels and showed pretty good form on his delivery.
Being on the mound is nothing new for the 19-year-old, who was a pitcher growing up in New Jersey. Towns mentioned during an interview being able to bring it to home plate between 80-85 mph and wanted the Twins to know, if needed, he could be an option to close games.
At the moment, the Twins are set at closer with Glen Perkins manning the ninth inning for Paul Molitor’s club. He’s recorded 32 saves so far this season after posting 34 and 36 the previous two seasons. Perkins was also named to the all-star team for the third consecutive time in 2015.
On a good note for Flip Saunders, Perkins’ success allows Towns to focus on making the Timberwolves an improved team during the upcoming NBA season.
The New York Knicks finished with the second-worst record in the NBA last season, but they were not fortunate enough to secure either the first or second pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Instead, the Knicks ended up selecting Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 overall pick.
If the Knicks did end up with the top overall pick, who would they have selected? The choice was obviously narrowed down to former Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns and former Duke big man Jahlil Okafor, but Jackson didn’t really tip his hand in the weeks and months leading up to the draft.
In his latest installment of “The Phil Files,” ESPN’s Charley Rosen shared some quotes that Jackson provided during the season about the draft.
“For sure, (Towns is) a better defender than Okafor, but even in the limited minutes he got during the season, Towns was always in foul trouble,” Jackson explained. “Also, he’s not very core-strong. Plus, his big feet will make it difficult for him to maneuver through heavy traffic in the paint. I think in four years Towns will be a better NBA player that Okafor, but Okafor is more NBA-ready right now and we need help ASAP.”
Interestingly enough, Jackson had discussed the importance of cleaning house and rebuilding on a separate occasion.
“All I can say is that I’m following the same script that (former Bulls GM Jerry Krause) followed after I left the Bulls. Basically clean house and look to rebuild around a top-notch draft pick,” he said of his plan. “If you recall, Krause had the first overall pick in 1999 and got Elton Brand, a good player but not a franchise player. I hope that I can do better.”
Jackson mentioned Okafor as the more NBA-ready player, but he clearly believes Towns is a better overall prospect. If his goal was to draft a franchise player, it seems like a safe bet that he would have chosen the one he believes would be a better pro down the road.
Between Jackson’s comments and the remarks Towns’ father made about his son leading up to the draft, it seems like Karl-Anthony was the most logical fit.
When the Minnesota Timberwolves won the top overall spot in the NBA Draft Loterry last month, there was some speculation that former Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns could avoid meeting with the T-Wolves in an attempt to force his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, who have the No. 2 pick.
That didn’t happen.
On Friday night, Minnesota Twins reporter Rhett Bollinger spotted Towns meeting with Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor.
There is a growing sense of belief that Towns is a lock to go No. 1. In fact, the Lakers are starting to doubt that they will even be able to get the 19-year-old to visit them for a pre-draft workout.
Towns and his father were hoping a certain team from New York landed the top overall pick, but that didn’t work out. And if they can’t pick the team they want, being drafted No. 1 is a nice consolation prize.
The Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, giving them the rights to the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. It has been widely assumed that former Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns will be selected in that spot, but it may not be that simple.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports speculates that Towns may prefer to land with the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2 — for obvious reasons. If that’s the case, the 19-year-old’s camp may have him snub the Timberwolves out of a pre-draft meeting.
Getting to the Lakers could be easier than Towns thinks. There are already reports circulating that Minnesota prefers Duke’s Jahlil Okafor.
The best thing the T-Wolves can do is try not to tip their hand. If the Lakers fall in love with Towns, there’s a chance they would be willing to swap picks with Minnesota if they believe there’s a legitimate chance the T-Wolves could draft Towns. That would, in theory, allow Minnesota to get some value in return.
We already know that Towns and his father had their sights set on one specific NBA team, but the chances of Towns ending up there are very slim.
The New York Knicks finished with the second-worst record record in the NBA this season, which leaves them with a 19.9 percent chance of earning the top overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. If they win the draft lottery, all signs point to the Knicks selecting former Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns’ father, Karl Towns Sr., has a great reason for wanting the Knicks to draft his son.
Towns recently discussed how he grew up a Knicks fan and still has a Knicks cap hanging in his bedroom. He clearly got some of his passion from his old man.
As we mentioned before, the Knicks can bounce back next season if they score the top pick and Phil Jackson gets his biggest superstar to buy in. A player like Towns could give New York’s front court the boost it needs. The Towns family is clearly rooting for it.
Former Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns is expected to be the top overall pick in the NBA Draft next month. The New York Knicks, who finished with the second-worst record in the NBA, have a 19.9 percent chance of earning the top pick. Is Towns rooting for that to happen?
While the 19-year-old said he will be happy with any NBA team that gives him an opportunity, he was not shy about discussing how he grew up a Knicks fan in a recent interview with Marc Berman of the NY Post.
“Yeah, in this area growing up, you don’t have the money to have the NBA League Pass, so you got the local teams,” Towns said, noting that he still has a Knicks cap in his bedroom. “I always got a chance to watch the MSG channel and watch the Knicks play. I grew up to have a lot of respect for the Knicks.”
Towns was also quick to praise Knicks president Phil Jackson.
“It’s his presence,” he told Berman. “What he means to me, his presence is just amazing. What was so awesome as a coach, he made every player better and put them in the best position to succeed. He’s just so smart and intelligent and has so much experience. He knows how to win. At the end of the day, what every player wants to do is win. If I have the opportunity to ever play for the Knicks, that’s what I would love to do.”
Jackson has a great reputation for developing low-post players, so you can understand why Towns would want to be part of a program that the 13-time NBA champion is in charge of.
We already know the Knicks are looking to bolster their front court this offseason, and drafting an exciting young talent like Towns would certainly help. If Jackson can add some key pieces and get his biggest superstar to remain optimistic, the Knicks might avoid embarrassing themselves again next season.
H/T Kentucky Sports Radio