Cleat Geeks

Karl-Anthony Towns Will Be A Bust

Journalists from just about every publication in the United States were certain Karl-Anthony Towns would go first in the 2015 NBA Draft, including myself; however, while the vast majority of journalists have continued to praise Towns’ physical attributes and basketball IQ, it has become clear that he is far from the anchor Minnesota was searching for:


1. His numbers do not resemble those of a number one overall draft pick.
Towns averaged just over 10 points per game as a starter for Kentucky, where he played more than any other player on the team. In most cases, more minutes should translate to more points – this is not the case with Karl-Anthony Towns! Averaging just over 10 points per game, Towns averages 4 fewer points per game than any other number one pick in NBA history.johnC

Now, one might argue that his numbers are artificially lower because of Coach John Calipari’s platoon system. And while that is a valid point, consider this: over a third of Towns’ points came at the free throw line. If we focus solely on his offensive production when a defender is present, Towns averages less than 7.5 points per game, setting him further behind other players selected both in this year’s Draft and in every other Draft in NBA history.

Another potential argument someone might make is that Towns shoots well over 50% from the field, so his PPG will go up as his minutes do. However, let’s go back to the first point: his numbers are artificially lower because of Coach Calipari’s platoon system – the same thing applies here, just in reverse. With fewer chances at the basket comes fewer chances to miss. And scoring under 7.5 points per game also doesn’t give you many opportunities to miss, especially when you consider that those points include fast breaks and easy dunks and layups. In college, he was able to use his size and physical prowess to dominate other defenders; however, the Western Conference is full of big men who are just as big, if not bigger than Karl-Anthony Towns, meaning he won’t be able to dominate in the post like he did at Kentucky.

While his ability as a defensive player is clear (over 4 blocks and 12 rebounds per 40 minutes played), that doesn’t make him any better of an overall basketball player than Willie Cauley-Stein, his former Kentucky teammate.

2. He lacks the discipline and consistency required of an NBA big man
What if I told you that last season, Karl-Anthony Towns averaged nearly 6 personal fouls per 40 minutes? That’s enough to foul out of a game with 8 minutes still remaining in regulation! His carelessness will prove a detriment to the Timberwolves, who need a solid, consistent defensive presence to anchor their otherwise-spotty interior defense.

Also, Towns plays with a lot of emotion, which can get the best of him and cause him to lose his composure, the latter of which seems to happen quite often based on his nearly 6 personal foul average per 40 minutes played.

Now obviously Towns will not be fouling out of every game he plays; but with that said, this should show that he cannot be counted on in clutch moments, which is a must of any player who is being heralded as a “franchise centerpiece” and “one of the best big men to come out of the Draft in the last half-decade”.kevinGarnet

Some might argue that Kevin Garnett, the locker room leader in Minneapolis, will set him straight and put him on the right path. However, there are three critical flaws with that plan: first, Kevin Garnett has averaged over 4 personal fouls per 36 minutes played each of the last three seasons, meaning he is facing the same problem Towns is; second, Kevin Garnett barely plays for the Wolves, averaging less than 20 minutes per game last season, a number which is sure to go down with the addition of Towns in the starting lineup; and lastly, Kevin Garnett is, to put it simply, old – he doesn’t have the time nor desire to take Towns under his wing and develop him into a polished, disciplined big man.

3. He won’t get many opportunities to show off his game
The big men in the NBA, specifically in the Western Conference, are all excellent defenders who create havoc in the paint and try anything and everything to make sure no one scores inside. The Timberwolves only have one quality big man on their roster: Karl-Anthony Towns. As the T-Wolves’ premier interior player, opponents will put their best interior defenders on Towns to prevent him from becoming a factor. Towns will be matched up against guys like Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, and Anthony Davis on a nightly basis, all of whom will make it their mission to keep Towns out of the game.

“But what about teams like the Suns or the Lakers,” one might ask. In these situations, of which there are very few, Towns still has his lackluster offensive game and his lack of discipline counting against him. Also, it’s not like Towns is the only big man on the Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett, Anthony Bennett, Nikola Pekovic, Adreian Payne, and Gorgui Dieng will also have considerable minutes that will take away Towns’ opportunities on the court.KAT

4. He isn’t special anymore
In college, Karl-Anthony Towns was a superstar talent who struck fear in the eyes of his opponents – but the NBA is a totally different animal: he won’t be playing against teams like the University of Pikeville (a school with under 2,000 students that plays at a level lower than D-3) – he will be playing against the best basketball players in the world on a nightly basis.

In the NBA, Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t a unique talent. There are plenty of defensive specialists in the NBA, but none of them can be characterized as “great.” Players like Joakim Noah, Anthony Davis, and Marc Gasol is a defensive specialist, but all off them can also score and all serve as leaders in their respective locker rooms. On the flipside, Karl-Anthony Towns simply doesn’t possess those same attributes that will make him a special player who will be a focal point on team’s scouting reports – and unless something drastic happens, he never will.


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