Karl-Anthony Towns sees Timberwolves teammate Anthony Edwards as a clear choice for Rookie of the Year, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Edwards had a slow start to his first NBA season, but he has been on a torrid pace lately, averaging 30.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists in his last four games while shooting 48% from three-point range. Edwards and Hornets guard LaMelo Ball are the leading contenders for top rookie honors, but Towns doesn’t see it as a close race.
“There ain’t no other rookie in this league getting double-teamed. There ain’t no other rookie putting up the numbers Ant is. There ain’t no other rookie causing the havoc and mayhem before the game even starts with the scouting reports like Anthony is,” Towns said. “But I don’t want to hear nothing about no other people who are rookies. I don’t want to hear that. I don’t go by hype, I go by stats.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Everyone involved in the proposed sale of the Timberwolves remains confident that a deal will be completed, Krawczynski notes in a profile of prospective new co-owner Marc Lore. He and Alex Rodriguez are nearing the end of a 30-day exclusive negotiating window to finalize the purchase of the team.
- Kenrich Williams wasn’t certain to win a roster spot with the Thunder in training camp, but now he seems like part of the team’s future, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Williams was considered salary filler when Oklahoma City acquired him from the Pelicans as part of the Steven Adams deal in November. He has earned a spot in the rotation and is averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 21.5 minutes per night. “I’ve solidified my role as far as what I can be in this league,” Williams said. “My first two years I felt like I was just a pretty solid defender, solid all-around player, but offensively is where I wanted to take that next jump.”
- The close relationship between Nuggets coach Michael Malone and MVP candidate Nikola Jokic has helped the organization develop a championship culture, writes Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. After six years together, they have created a belief throughout the organization that Denver can challenge for a title. “The guy gave me everything,” Jokic said of Malone. “The guy gave me the freedom, he led me, he showed me the way. And we built a great relationship, not just he’s the coach and I’m a player. We are friends, too. It’s more than basketball.”