With about half of the NBA season in the books it is pretty clear that the Rookie of the Year race only has two horses in it, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks. Both players have the potential to be not only franchise players but also top five players in the league one day. The top players in the league have already taken notice of these two young players, Towns getting praise from the likes of former MVP Kevin Durant and Porzingis getting the rare seal of approval from all-time great Kobe Bryant.
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) January 12, 2016
When the Minnesota Timberwolves took Towns with the number one overall pick, not too many people were surprised. Coming out of Kentucky it was clear he was destined to be a franchise changing prospect; not just for to his abilities on the court but also his attitude and personality off the court. From his work with autism to his want to be a doctor after he is done dominating the game of basketball, Towns is just an all-round great human being and exactly what owners what to represent their organization. He also has the work ethic that would make any of the all-time greats proud, as he is always the first in the gym and the last to leave. His want to be the best is only matched by the effort he puts in to make it happen.
The numbers and performances he has put up so far in his NBA career has drawn comparisons to the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan. He is currently averaging 15.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks-per-game and has looked dominant at times. In just his second NBA game he finished with 28 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and four blocks against the Denver Nuggets and against the Orlando Magic he had an incredible 21 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks. He has finished with 17 or more points in 19 of his 41 games and has failed to score in double figures only nine times. He is also eighth in the league in blocks, but that was only good for second in rookies thanks to Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis has certainly come a long way from causing little kids to cry and getting booed on draft night. The pride of Latvia has become the largest source of hope for New Yorkers since the days of Patrick Ewing. He has drawn comparisons to the likes of Dirk Nowitzki but with a higher ceiling and motor. His work ethic is admired by the likes of Kobe and Nowitzki, who believes he will be one of the greats on day.
He is averaging 13.9 points, eight rebounds, 1.1 assists, and two blocks-per-game and has played great when the lights have been brightest. Against the Houston Rockets he finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and seven blocks in the victory and when matched up against the San Antonio Spurs he finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds, and one steal in the one-point loss. He has never been afraid of making the big play and posterizing some of the best players in the league.
At the end of the day, Karl-Anthony Towns should win Rookie of the Year. He looks better every single day and it is because he works at becoming better every single day. Timberwolves fans should be waking up every single morning and thank the ghost of Flip Saunders for this team and most importantly the big KAT. Pair him with last year’s ROY Andrew Wiggins and other great young players and things are looking up in Minnesota. Even though Towns will go on to win ROY, Porzingis will enjoy a great career in the Big Apple. The Knicks are finally showing a direction and hope after so many years of toiling in mediocrity, and its all thanks to Porzingis. These two will always be linked and in a few short years they will be at the top of the league. If the future of the NBA is in their hands, everyone can breathe easy because they are in for a treat.
PS: If you have not seen Kat and his cat petition for All-Star votes then you need to.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 9, 2016
*Feature image credit to MIKE STOBE/GETTY IMAGES