In the near future the discussion will begin to surface, which player will be LeBron's successor? Who will the baton be passed onto as the next player who will dominate the next era? With the incredible new wave of talent currently emerging in the NBA, and with one of the strongest drafts in years approaching, the next GOAT may very well be amidst them. Is it Giannis? Embiid? Porzingis? Simmons? Ball? Fultz? One thing is for certain, the NBA's future is in good hands with this next crop, but I want to lay it down for the record why I think Karl-Anthony Towns is about to take hold of this league and own it for the next decade.
These days it is hard to tell who is “up next” as far as that dynamic of a player goes, but Towns could very well be that guy, that once he gets a taste of the playoffs, it's gonna be real hard to keep him out of it!
Coming off the best statistical rookie season we had seen since Blake Griffin in 2010-11 and unanimously winning the ROTY award, there was a world of expectation KAT's shoulders, as well as the unfair expectation that he would carry this raw Timberwolves squad straight to the post season in 2017.
If you compare KAT to Lebron James in terms of their progress LBJ went from averaging 20.9ppg to 27.2ppg in his rookie to sophomore seasons, which is obviously outstanding especially at the age of 19 years old. Towns has grown since year one all the same going from 18.3ppg to 24.6ppg this season, both equally jumping up 6.3ppg a piece in that span. Lebron was named an All-Star in year two and Towns missed the boat, however in KAT's defense Lebron wasn't fighting for a spot against the most stacked Western Conference we have seen in 15 years.
Here are just a few little comparative differences between LBJ and KAT to peak at, but are in favour of Towns. In regards to efficiency, these two are pretty far off and KAT destroys him in this department. That department would be FG% and years 1 & 2 LeBron went from 42% from the field to 47% and Towns has stayed consistent at 54% both seasons, being significantly more efficient. From 3pt range the two aren't as comparable only by the simple fact KAT only has one 3PT shot attempt a game his rookie season, but in year 2 where they both shot at least 3 per game, they both shoot 35% from 3pt. Crazy considering the standard of the power forward position being one typically where you don't expect guys to stretch out and shoot 3’s unless you are Dirk, at least in LeBron’s younger days anyway. These days the transition of more guys attempting to be a more versatile big man and become a stretch 4 or 5 is ongoing and very common.
KAT has incredible quickness and great footwork for someone his size, as well as outstanding athleticism! He can score on you multiple ways and is no chump on the defensive side of the ball either. When you hear these descriptions of Towns, you begin to realize LeBron had these same intangibles too. A 6’8 small forward that weighs 238lbs, which is a pretty big guy for that position. Regardless of his size he could move seamlessly on the court. One of the fastest in the league in his younger days and is still rather fast to this day LeBron continues to show he is a rare breed. Watching Towns play you see all the similarities between the two and since LeBron is a once in a lifetime guy as far as his ability to pass the ball being a SF, this isn't something you hold against Towns when comparing the two. For example, how many big men could you name off the top with just an outstanding ability to assist the ball as a PF? It's hard to think of any and when I say outstanding I'm talking at least 5-6 per game which is amazing for a big man in any era.
Towns already approaching the verge of unstoppable is just a footnote on his path to greatness. It is near impossible for a sophomore to rule the league, but it’s already clear that his prime will be apocalyptic for everyone and anyone who dares try to slow him down.