After an inconsistent start to the campaign, the Minnesota Timberwolves have begun emerging as a threat in the loaded Western Conference. Though a lot of that has to do with the absolutely stellar play of Jimmy Butler in recent weeks, center Karl-Anthony Towns has also started to look more like his old self.
What sets Towns apart from many big men across the NBA, is his unique skillset. Though the modern big is expected to have almost guard-like tendencies, Towns boasts this in spades with his ability to shoot from beyond the three-point arc, his handles, and his solid passing out of the post.
Towns recently sat down with Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda and explained he never wanted a normal skillset, idolizing his game after none other than Lakers legend Magic Johnson:
“When I was growing up everyone told me how they thought I should play the game of basketball, which was never the way I wanted to play it,” Towns said. “I played the game the way I wanted. Back to the basket, the traditional big man, I didn’t want to be that. I wanted to be able to play like Magic Johnson, who was 6-9, ran the court and shot like a point guard.”
Even today, you can see the impact Magic has had on the game of Karl-Anthony Towns. He has an uncanny ability to run the floor, handle and shoot the ball proficiently and simultaneously get his teammates involved.
Still, that’s where the similarities between Johnson and Towns end, as they played polar opposite positions of point guard and center respectively. Johnson was the first of his kind as an all-around threat with a big man’s size of 6’9″, a prototype that has lived on today, now through LeBron James and upcoming rookie Ben Simmons.