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On 22nd birthday, Timberwolves’ Towns compares to NBA’s elite



Karl-Anthony Towns turns 22 Wednesday, a month into his third NBA season.

It feels like he should be older.

Like, “able to rent a car” older.

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After winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, Towns burst onto the scene last year, averaging 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, hooking up with Andrew Wiggins to form one of the highest-scoring duos in the NBA.

Now, with Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and a brand new supporting cast in tow, he’s projected to take the Wolves to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

But while the here and now is awfully exciting, Towns’ future is just as tantalizing.

Statistically, Towns compares favorably to the best players in the NBA during their own under-22 careers.

Towns is eighth all-time in scoring before age 22 with 3,839 points. Better than Chris Bosh, but slightly fewer than Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant.

He’s one of just three players to register 2,000 rebounds at this stage of his career, joining Andre Drummond (2,632) and Dwight Howard (3,169).

He ranks sixth in 20-point games with 102 (Shaquille O’Neal had 112) and fifth in 30-point games with 27 (Shaq had 32).

Second in double-doubles (124), fifth in points per game (21.7), fourth in rebounds per game (11.4) and third in true shooting percentage (.608), Towns is already on the road to superstardom.

It’s no guarantee — guys like Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Elton Brand achieved what might be referred to as ordinary stardom — but if past performance is any indication, Towns is already well on his way towards joining the NBA’s elite.



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