Having a good veteran mentor can speed up the learning curve of an NBA rookie considerably. Look at it this way: how would the first few years of John Wall‘s career been different if he fell into the situation Rajon Rondo did (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen) instead of having Gilbert Arenas and Andray Blatche as team leaders?
No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns has fallen into about the best situation possible in Minnesota — he’s got Garnett guiding him. Towns is already trying to take advantage of that and is already saying KG is his mentor, speaking to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com.
“He’s my mentor,” said Towns, who spent time with Garnett in Los Angeles last month. “Everything he knows, and countless years he’s been playing this game at a high level, [I am] just trying to garner information from him every day. Learn how to be a better leader, how to be a champion, just to be a true professional.”
Towns always seems to say the right thing, like saying he wants KG to teach him how to be a champion. Towns has got that part of being an NBA franchise player down.
The on-the-court part shows promise, but also needs a lot of work. At Summer League in Las Vegas he showed a great basketball IQ, good passing skills (and recognition of double teams), he showed he could score a variety of ways, and he moved well off the ball. And all that said, he looked like a rookie. He picked up fouls at an alarming rate. He’s got to develop more post moves and a few counters. He’s got to get used to the physicality and athleticism of NBA defenders.
But there is a lot of potential to tap in Towns — it will go faster if he listens to his mentor.