With the first pick in the 2015 N.B.A. draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Karl-Anthony Towns, a center from Kentucky.
Towns, 19, stands 6 feet 11 inches and weighs 250 pounds. He averaged 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game in his lone season for the Wildcats and is considered a versatile two-way big man. He is more of a project than some of the other players expected to go with the few picks, but the belief is he can grow into one of the game’s most dominant players because of his rare combination of size and skills.
Born in Edison, N.J., Towns has been a member of the Dominican Republic’s national basketball team since 2012.
After a short and sweet college career at Kentucky, Karl-Anthony Towns now takes his intriguing act to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Despite playing on a Wildcats team littered with fellow NBA prospects, the 6’11” freshman stood out as the shiniest prize in the 2015 draft. He didn’t dominate every game, but he uncorked a tantalizing blend of offensive potential and defensive range.
He joins a T-Wolves squad that’s brimming with young talent. RickyRubio is one of the most skilled distributors in the game, while 2014 No. 1 selection Andrew Wiggins is on a fast track toward stardom. Towns will mesh with this up-and-coming core nicely.
Among other deficiencies, Minny needed shooting and defensive versatility in the frontcourt. Towns will supply both during his rookie campaign, albeit in modest doses.
Towns’ tremendous shot-blocking instincts will manifest themselves right away. He’s capable of altering shots as an on-ball stopper and rangy helper.
Watch him reject a bushel of attempts from a variety of angles against Florida. With his terrific timing and 7’3″ wingspan, it’s no wonder he swatted 4.3 shots per 40 minutes
Ultimately, Towns will dramatically improve Minny’s stoppage. Just don’t be surprised by a steady portion of fouls and rookie mistakes along the way. He’s the final piece that will bolster a defense that already had talent like Rubio, Dieng and Wiggins.
On offense, the big fella can initially develop without having to carry the team. With a skilled table-setter like Rubio and prolific wings like Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad, Towns will be asked to stay within a modest role.