Going into his third season, Karl-Anthony Towns should be an All-Star — even in a stacked West — and a probably an All-NBA player (he had the most votes of anyone left off last season). He’s going to, along with Jimmy Butler, lift the Timberwolves into the playoffs.
But his goals are much bigger than that — he expects to be the best player in the NBA. Period.
“My confidence has always been so high. I felt coming into the league I could be that easily,” Towns said this week after practice at the University of California, San Diego. “I always knew it was just a matter of time.
“But before I was even drafted, I felt that I had that ability, faith and confidence in myself to do that regardless to what team I’m with. I’m very blessed to be with the Timberwolves, because with them I’ve expedited that process a lot….
“That is definitely something that I see in my sight [being the best]. I’m getting better every year,” Towns said. “I’m getting smarter. I’m getting faster, quicker, so I feel like I can easily be that. It’s just a matter of time for me”
This is a realistic goal for Towns. Completely realistic.
Towns is part of a new breed of elite big men — such as Anthony Davis — who are 7-foot but have all-around skills. He can post guys up, run the floor, shot 36.7 percent from three last season, and he can defend (that’s the part of his game that most needs to improve, and he did look better as a rim protector in person at the Timberwolves preseason opener against the Lakers). He’s unlike any other player in the NBA, maybe the best comparison is Olajuwon (but that’s not quite right, and not quite fair to Towns either).
He’s entering his third season and is a top 20, maybe top 15 player in the league right now. Part of the perception of being the best player is being on a winning team, and he’s about to be on that.
It will be a couple of years — those guys LeBron and Durant are still good at this basketball thing — but in a few years we may well be the best player in the NBA. And we will not blink at it.