Karl-Anthony Towns made NBA history in Minnesota on Monday, becoming the first Latino to win the league’s Rookie of the Year award. The young Dominican was a unanimous choice for the honor, leading all rookies in points and rebounds per game, in addition to total blocked shots. Towns started all 82 contests for the Timberwolves, securing all six Rookie of the Month honors along the way.
“This is so much deeper than basketball,” said Towns after receiving the award. “This is something that my family can look back and smile. This is a landmark in my career but it’s not the last one. I plan to continue to grow as a player, continue to improve, and continue to bring Minnesota to a place it should be as a playoff contender and as a championship contender.”
As the #1 pick in last year’s NBA draft, Towns exceeded the hype with a polished game exhibiting an array of skills. The former Kentucky Wildcat joined legendary big men Ralph Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan in averaging at least 18 points, 10 boards, 1.5 blocks, and shooting at least 50% from the field, in his rookie season.
Towns is the second consecutive Rookie of the Year for the Timberwolves after swingman Andrew Wiggins took home the award last season. Following a disappointing 29-53 campaign, Minnesota again looks to build through the draft lottery where Towns will be representing the team tonight. With defensive guru Tom Thibodeau already under contact as their new coach, a little luck could go a long way for the scrappy Timberwolves.
“This is a great time for Minnesota,” said Towns from the podium. “Not just for the draft but just because of the direction that we’re going. This is a great direction. We’re going upward. We’re a team on the rise. I see special things for us, not years from now but next year. We’re gonna do a great job, and the draft is just a step for our offseason to grow as the team we want to be and be the team we envision ourselves being.”