Kentucky Wildcats: Karl-Anthony Towns Dominance Paying off


The general forethought throughout the college basketball season was that Okafor would undoubtedly have his named called in the NBA draft this June. The last few months have proven perhaps someone else will have the honor, none other than Kentucky Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns., for the first time this season, has Towns going to New York with the first pick over Duke’s Okafor.

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  • This wasn’t something that sprung up out of the ground yesterday, either. Towns has dominated the later chuck of the season, last weekend in Kentucky’s elite eight matchup against Notre Dame, he scored 25 pushing the Wildcats to a 2-point victory and a second consecutive Final Four shot.

    Throughout the last 10 games, Karl-Anthony Towns has averaged 12.4 points (heavily skewed by his 1-point performance in the Sweet Sixteen), and 6.3 rebounds, a very eye opening statline considering he is on the floor for roughly 22 minutes per contest.

    CBS Sports’ Sam Vecenie has more on Towns’ March transformation:

    "By the beginning of March, Towns and Okafor were close enough that it could be reasonably argued that a team with differing roster needs could have taken Towns over Okafor. If a team — such as the Timberwolves — needed to keep the paint clear, the skill levels that each had shown in college to this point were close enough that it made sense to take Towns.But after what we’ve seen in March from these two players, it’s undeniable: Towns, with his complete game and overall dominance that has reached levels similar to Okafor, deserves to be the No. 1 player on this big board.While still noting that it’s generally a toss-up between the two players, there are two significant reasons why I have moved Towns ahead of Okafor. The first has to do with team-building. Simply put, with who the teams are at the top of the draft, I believe more teams would take Towns than Okafor. Philadelphia and Denver seem to want to play at a high pace, which Towns fits better than Okafor. Minnesota needs the paint clear for the penetration-based games of Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins. Orlando is in the same boat with Elfrid Payton as their point guard of the future, plus Rob Hennigan has seemed to default to the best athletes with his draft choices in the past. So Towns seems more likely to be the first pick, in my mind, when looking at the big picture of fit possibilities.Second, Towns’ improvement this season has been impressive and points to a higher ceiling as a prospect. Coming into the year, his strength in the paint and his rebounding weren’t necessarily considered “weaknesses,” but they also weren’t exactly strengths. Throughout the middle of the year, he was improving but still hadn’t reached the level to where he could be a go-to guy for the Wildcats. By the end of the year Towns has become one of the most physical players in the country, dominating games in the paint. John Calipari has turned Towns into a beast by forcing him to play inside the paint throughout the season as opposed to him playing more in the pick-and-roll/pop, which is a place he profiles well in the NBA given his athleticism and ability to step away from the hoop and knock down shots. You need look no further than the Wildcats’ Elite Eight game against Notre Dame for what Towns is capable of in the post, as he dropped 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting and added 5 rebounds with 4 assists."

    Karl-Anthony Towns and the Kentucky Wildcats will play the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four this Saturday at 8:49 PM EST.

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