Karl-Anthony Towns – A great two-way player?

Karl-Anthony Towns has all the tools to be the first pick in the draft. (Photo credit to pbs.twmig.com)
Karl-Anthony Towns has all the tools to be the first pick in the draft. (Photo credit to pbs.twmig.com)

Three hyphens in the title.

Who would have thought I would have so many hyphens in a title of my article? I think of the hyphens as questions, though, because I have mixed feelings about this cat.

Here is my opinion, though.

Towns might have the most upside in the entire draft. In fact, I’m sure most people would say that.

He is long, athletic, skilled, and has a nice form on his jumper. If he didn’t play at Kentucky, all of us would have a clearer picture of how good he could become.

Because he played at Kentucky, his numbers are diluted and don’t look very impressive.

He averaged 10.3 points per game, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. He averaged that while he played 21.1 minutes per game!

I am certain that the Minnesota Timberwolves will have a tough time deciding between Towns or Jahlil Okafor. Both players are extremely tempting and have loads of potential stardom.

For a player who is 7-feet tall, Towns is agile and skilled. His coordination should be the most prized of all his attributes. His body reminds me of Derrick Favors.

On offense, he is able to play power forward and center, and I’m sure he could guard both positions, and maybe even small forward, too, on defense.

His offensive game isn’t as polished as Okafor’s, nor does he have great footwork, but you can’t say that Towns’ offensive game won’t exceed Okafor’s someday. Heck, it could surpass Okafor’s in one year.

I say a lot of crazy things, just ask my friends, but watching Towns rebound reminds me of Tim Duncan. The way he is able to corral rebounds and hold off a defender or several, is pretty impressive at the age of 19. I’m not talking about him out-jumping opponents, rather he is boxing out opposing players. That’s a lost art in today’s NBA.

On the offensive glass, it seems like he is one step ahead of the opponent. He grabbed 92 offensive rebounds this past season.

The one thing that I love about Towns is that he is a great free throw shooter. He shot 81.3 percent from the line this past season (109-134).

He is a willing passer out of the post, which is always a plus, and he is a team player.

On the defensive end is where Towns separates himself from Okafor. He is a considerably better defender than Okafor; however, he fouls a bit too much for my liking. He averaged 2.3 fouls per game, but don’t forget he played an average of 21 minutes per game this season.

The more film I watch of Towns, the more he resembles, and dare I say it, Andrew Bynum in a way.

Does anybody remember how long Bynum’s arms are? It seemed like he never had to get off the ground to dunk the ball.

The way Towns moves laterally most reminds me of Bynum. Bynum was not bad in defensive pick-and-roll situations.

Towns is very good at helping on defense. In fact, that’s how he accumulated most of his blocks this season.

One of his few weaknesses is his jump shooting. He was only 8-of-28 on jump shots this season. Despite the small sample size and poor percentage, his form is good and he could easily and quickly improve in a season or two. I don’t really view this as weakness, unless it never improves.

Another weakness is that he loves to try to block every shot, which, in turn, can lead to foul trouble. He also commits fouls that are completely unnecessary, like reaching and hand fighting in the post.

That’s another thing that separates him and Okafor. While Okafor is not a great defender, he didn’t pick up fouls at the rate Towns did in college.

He isn’t an explosive athlete like Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka or Anthony Davis. But then again, Duncan, Paul Millsap or LaMarcus Aldridge were never very athletic either, but have still been extremely effective and, in Duncan’s case, a Hall of Fame player.

Heck, I would say Towns is a below-average athlete.

In my opinion, I believe Towns has some qualities of Bynum, Duncan and Millsap. In turn, that should mean his upside is really great, right? Not always. Some of his weaknesses, like prone to fouling and inconsistency, are two things that are hard to change. It could be several years before Towns becomes a very good defender in the NBA. I say that because it could take Towns a year or two before he figures out how to not foul in the post.

All draft picks are a risk. Even LeBron James was a risk when the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him in 2003. What if James didn’t live up to the hype or handle the pressure?

That’s the great-horrible thing about the draft. As a fan, a person can only hope their favorite team makes the right choice when selecting a player.

I’m not saying Towns will be a sure-fire superstar or even a “can’t miss pick.” I believe he has the tools to become something very special, but it will take time. Hey, he might end up like Perry Jones III, lost in the NBA shuffle.

No, no I can’t go out like that.

I believe that Towns will be a multi-time All-Star in the NBA.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below!


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