Towns, who was drafted as the number one pick in the 2015 NBA draft, has been a valuable though at times criticized player in the league, but his talent has never been brought into question. And for Towns himself, it didn't take long playing up against the best players in the world to realize that he fit in.
Speaking on Podcast P with Paul George presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, Towns was asked when he became aware that he was capable of playing in the NBA.
Towns responded, “[As] a freshman at high school, and I was playing against the Dream Team with Kobe and all of them…you're a young kid, you're playing against literally the best players in the world and everyone's in their prime…I only played the fourth quarter but when I got on the court how comfortable I felt making behind the back passes against the best players in the world, shooting threes, feeling confident in my skills out there. I looked the part. I looked like I was supposed to be there.”
Those skills which he displayed against, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and co. as a freshman certainly didn't go unnoticed, as just months later the Minnesota Timberwolves picked him up with the first pick, and in his first season Towns played all 82 games and averaged 18.3 points on 54.2% shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
Now 27, Karl-Anthony Towns is an imperfect player and perhaps hasn't had the dominant impact of which he's capable on the league to this point in his career, but seven-footers who shoot 40% from long-range and average close to five dimes per night don't grow on trees. Nine years on from when he first competed against the best players in the world and realized his skills could cut it at the level, those skills haven't gone anywhere.