MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The NBA’s Eddie Gottlieb Trophy for NBA Rookie of the Year is calling Minnesota home for a second-straight season. The league named Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns as the fifth unanimous selection for top rookie in NBA history on Monday morning.
“This is just a culmination of a lot of work that we all put in to help each other,” Towns said. “I am just glad I could bring this back for everyone.”
Towns lead all rookies in scoring (18.3 ppg), rebounding (10.5 rpg), field goal percentage (.542) and double-doubles (51). KAT also won NBA Western Conference “Rookie of the Month” all six months this season, joining Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Tim Duncan and David Robinson in that category.
Towns finds himself in great NBA company after his first season, but nothing surprised the Wolves center about his rookie campaign.
“I felt that I had full confidence in myself,” Towns said. “I wanted to come in and contribute as much as possible. I went out there every day and worked tremendously hard.”
Many people rave about Karl on the court, but his class off of it took center-stage too on Monday. Towns donated a Kia vehicle to the Minnesota Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of late Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders. Towns handed the keys to the new SUV to Debbie Saunders in an emotional part of Monday’s ceremony.
“To give away a car in his honor to such a great cause is so special to me,” Towns said. “To give it to (Flip’s) wife made it even more special.”
“I was almost crying when he gave those keys to Flip’s wife,” Karl Towns Sr. said. “It is special to see how much he loved that man. Flip gave him his chance. They are family for life.”
Towns and teammate Andrew Wiggins are the first back-to-back Rookie of the Year winners from the same team since 1973-1974 when Bob McAdoo and Ernie DiGregorio did so for the Buffalo Braves. That stat is a good sign moving forward for this young Minnesota team.
“Our bar is as high as winning the NBA Championship,” Karl-Anthony Towns said. “Nothing is improbable. We have a chance to do a lot of special things.”
KAT has high team expectations for the Wolves, but others have singular aspirations for Minnesota’s budding young star.
“What he did in his rookie season is remarkable,” new Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s hungry. He is driven. Those are qualities you look for.”
The last five Rookie of the Year awards went to:
2014-15: Andrew Wiggins
2013-14: Michael Carter-Williams
2012-13: Damian Lillard
2011-12: Kyrie Irving