Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle views Wolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns as a “next generation” type of player with his combination of size and ability, according to The Associated Press. “There are going to be guys like him,” Carlisle said, “that have the great size and length and still can play the ‘4’ [power forward], those super athletes with super length that now are still damn quick and can do anything on the basketball court. He’s an unbelievable weapon for them.” Towns is a heavy favorite to give Minnesota its second straight Rookie of the Year winner, following Andrew Wiggins last season.
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Towns has won every Western Conference Rookie of the Month award this season, but even that doesn’t reflect how dominant his first season has been, writes Eric Saar of Basketball Insiders. Towns’ player efficiency rating of 22.80 is the second highest in NBA history for a 20-year old, trailing Shaquille O’Neal by a tenth of a point. He also ranks among the best-ever 20-year-olds in win shares, scoring average, blocks per game, rebounding, true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage and overall field goal percentage.
- Towns has been impressed by the play of fellow rookie and former Kentucky teammate Trey Lyles, according to Samuel Benson of The Deseret News. Utah made Lyles the 12th overall pick of last year’s draft and eased him into its rotation. He is averaging 5.6 points and 3.6 rebounds a night through 74 games but made an impact with 17 first-half points in Friday’s win over Minnesota. “[Lyles] has been a tremendous player since high school and proved in college how great he was,” Towns said. “… “He’s going to be the future of this [Jazz] team.”
- The Nuggets will miss the postseason for the third straight year, and Danilo Gallinari expressed frustration to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post about the lack of progress. Gallinari has fond memories of the years when George Karl coached in Denver and the Nuggets were regular contenders. “Honestly, we didn’t make the playoffs this year,” Gallinari said. “I’m asking you; do you think that the same thing that didn’t make the playoffs this year is a championship team next year? I don’t think so.”
- The Jazz have recalled center Tibor Pleiss from their Idaho affiliate in the D-League. Pleiss, who has made five D-League trips this season, has appeared in 12 games for Utah, averaging 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds.