Right around this time every year there's usually a draft prospect or two that just stands out from the pack and forces you to use every single drop of energy to not brim with excitement and enthusiasm. For the past few years, prospects like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Julius Randle and Rudy Gobert triggered that feeling. We're still three months away from the 2015 NBA Draft, but Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns has joined that group of players.
The 7'0'' center with a 7'3'' wingspan out of Kentucky has showcased himself as the most electrifying member of the undefeated team's roster. Towns is averaging 9.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 55% from the field in 20 minutes per game. While it shouldn't be surprising that Towns has been able to make an immediate impact on the college level -- he was a five-star high-school prospect -- not even the most optimistic Kentucky fan was able to anticipate him to be this spectacular.
One glance at his game and it's clear he has all of the traits that NBA teams look for in the modern-day big man. Towns possesses all those abilities (size, athleticism, defensive awareness, ability to be a multi-faceted scorer) into a mix that makes him one of the most tantalizing prospects in recent memory.
From a physical standpoint, Towns is levels ahead of any other freshmen in this year's draft class. While his long 7'0 frame would be good enough to create a mismatch against most SEC bigs, Towns just simply out-works everyone else when it comes to rebounding. Towns does a terrific job of using his large 250 lb. frame to out-muscle his opponents in box-outs to capture the perfect angle needed to grab the rebound. Averaging 4.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes -- seventh among draft-eligible players -- is serious.
Towns' reign of tenacity and pure athletic destruction flows through other facets of the offensive game. It's reminiscent of Godzilla flicks; Towns has a certain fluidity with how he runs the floor that's simply breath-taking. While that awe-inspiring nature could be backed up by him averaging 1.789 points per possession in transition, according to Synergy Sports Technology, just watch him work.
Or marvel as he takes control of the ball and finishes the transition play like a wing.
*20 minutes later*
Throughout the season, Towns has been able to develop a solid offensive arsenal aside from those fantastic athletic feats. While he isn't quite at the level of Jahlil Okafor, Towns does have a respectable post-up game. Averaging .881 points per possession from post-ups, Towns has displayed an ability to score from both the left and right block.
Alongside that post-up ability, Towns has also shown brief glimpses of being able to shoot the outside jumper. For a player his size, he does possess a pretty smooth shooting stroke, which you can see from this:
With all of his offensive abilities in mind, Towns work as a defender is what separates him from the pack. One of the main themes of this piece has been centered around how Towns is able to combine his tantalizing frame with ferocity. That combo has lead him to become one of the better shot-blockers in the entire nation. Ranked third in the nation among draft eligible prospects, Karl Towns is averaging 4.5 blocks per 40 minutes.
With that in mind, one of the biggest weaknesses of Karl Towns would be his tendency to draw fouls. Towns averages 5.3 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which includes five instances where he fouled out of the game.
Over the three months leading up to the draft, the league-wide love affair over Karl Towns is definitely going to reach a fever pitch, if it hasn't already. Will the Lakers be the lucky team to be the NBA destination of this awesome prospect? I guess we're going to have to cross our fingers and hope for the best.