There’s always risk in extrapolating a hot start, which is why the English coined the saying flatter to deceive. It’s early in Karl-Anthony Towns’ NBA career and human existence – 5 games and 19.5 years, respectively. It’s still early enough for him to do, or be, anything.
Introducing perspective is important because if Town’s debut week were to follow a regular career arc from hereon, he’d retire among rare company. Through his first 5 games, Towns is averaging 15, 9.5 and 3 blocks. Were he to hold form across the 82 games, he’d take his place among Shaq, Zo and The Admiral as the only rookies to match or better those numbers. Those three, are of course, Hall of Famers (in Shaq’s case, soon to be inducted).
Of course, there’s a decade of hard work ahead of Towns to even match the games total of the names above, let alone their output. Whether they’re great or horrible, five games of statistics is obviously not predictive (relax, D’Angelo Russell fans). Towns’ case for long and great career are better informed by his stature and skillset.
He is long and wiry – 6’11” with a 7’3 wingspan – with broad shoulders. It’s the sort of build that looks like it can safely carry more muscle. He possesses a natural agility not usually enjoyed by players his size. Owing to his excellent co-ordination, the mechanics on his shot are organised and repeatable, and he’s able to put it on the floor with ease.
Perhaps what’s most striking about Towns is that even though he is blessed with the ability to do the spectacular, he usually choses the simple. It invokes another famous name in Tim Duncan, who has perfected the basics to the order of two MVP’s and five rings. Towns’ decision making is far more composed than his experience would suggest – he chooses a post move, shot or pass as the situation presents itself. His back to the basket game is in its infancy, but his jump shot has range out to 22-feet and there’s a variety of passes in his arsenal. Defensively, utilising his smarts and length, he’s already established himself as the Wolves basket best protector.
It’s still really early, but it sure looks like Karl Anthony-Towns has the body, game and mentality, to do, or be, anything.