But when he’s right, he’s right.
“I’m the greatest big man shooter of all time. That’s a fact. You can see the stats. I ain’t got to play like no one else. Everyone trying to find themselves to be the second version of me when I’m the first version. I don’t got to be the second version of someone else. I’m already an original. I don’t have to be a duplicate of someone else.”
Towns’ career combination of volume (four 3-point attempts per game) and efficiency (40% on 3-pointers) is unmatched among clear bigs.
“Big man” is a vague term that usually includes centers and some power forwards. A prolific bomber from beyond the arc, Wizards forward Davis Bertans (five 3-point attempts per game, 40% on 3-pointers) could make a case. So could forwards Ryan Anderson (five, 38%) and Danilo Gallinari (five, 38%).
Of course, 3-pointers aren’t the only measure of shooting. Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki (three, 38%) was excellent from beyond the arc but even better known for his lethal mid-range shooting.
Still, Towns matches up well. Long 2s (beyond 16 feet, per Basketball-Reference):
- Nowitzki: 47%
- Towns: 46%
Nowitzki’s slight advantage from that zone doesn’t offset Towns’ long-distance prowess.
Maybe Nowitzki, who had such a nice touch on his jumper, would have been the best big man shooter if he played in this era. There’s a relatively new emphasis on stretch bigs. Nowitzki would have had even more of a greenlight to launch from deep now.
But Towns is playing in this era and has really embraced the style. He has improved the versatility of his 3-pointer without sacrificing accuracy. There’s nothing left to the imagination. Towns excels as a shooter.
It’s safer to call Towns the best shooting center of all-time. The “big man” designation adds complications, both in determining which power forwards qualify as bigs and whether they’re better shooters than Towns.
But Towns probably wins that debate, too.