Karl-Anthony Towns’ Record-Breaking Season Is Just The Beginning

Julian Andrews
Web Editorial Associate

Anyone who follows the Wolves knows how impressive Karl-Anthony Towns has been this season. His body of work over the last seven months has not only been fun to watch, it’s been record-setting. The Wolves’ 22-year-old star has established himself as a generational offensive talent, making even the best defenders in the league look overmatched against his size and strength, and shredding opposing defenses with an incredible arsenal of post moves, an impressive handle for a seven-footer, and an excellent outside shooting touch. Oh, and he can dunk too.

Any discussion of Towns’ season has to start with his double-double numbers. He totaled 68 double-doubles this year, the most in the NBA since Dwight Howard had 71 in the 2007-08 season. The last time anyone on the Timberwolves had more double-doubles during a season was the 2004-05 season, when Kevin Garnett had 69.

Towns finished second in the NBA in total rebounds this season with 1,012 on the season, and 12th in the league in points, with 1,743. He also finished with the 12th best field goal percentage in the league, shooting 54.5 percent from the floor. None of the players ranked above him in shooting percentage took as many shots per game as Towns.

Towns had several incredible games this season, but his best was a 56-point outburst against the Hawks on March 28. Towns set a franchise record for scoring that night, an effort aided by his six three-pointers on eight attempts. Of course he also double-doubled against Atlanta, gathering 15 rebounds.

Sometimes players who rack up traditional stats don’t look quite as impressive under the lens of advanced stats. That’s not the case with Towns. Towns finished the season with the league’s 10th highest PER and amassed the second-most win shares in the league, trailing only MVP frontrunner James Harden. He also finished seventh in rebounding percentage.

The numbers paint a picture of a player who is not only highly-talented, but a good decision maker. Towns scores efficiently no matter how many shots he takes, and he can score from literally anywhere on the floor. It’s hard to find a comparison for what Towns does—he mixes old school post trickery with modern range and touch to create a peerless offensive skillset.

Here’s some context for how unprecedented Towns’ work this season has been. Guess how many players in league history have scored 5,000+ points, gathered 2,500+ rebounds, and hit 250+ three-pointers in a season? One. Towns, this season. How many players do you think have averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds while shooting over 50-percent from the field, 40-percent from three, and 85-percent from the line? Two. The first was Larry Bird in the 1984-85 season, and the second was Towns.

Towns has had an incredible season, but he’s still only 22 years old, and has been remarkably durable. In his three seasons since being drafted, he has never missed a single game. The Wolves’ young center is still improving, a frightening prospect for the rest of the league. Towns may have had a record-breaking third year in the league, but when he reaches his full potential, there’s no telling how good he’ll be.  

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