Back in 2003, when LeBron James entered the league as one of the most high-profile teenage athletes of all time, he absolutely took the world by storm. Fast forward more than a decade later and a 20-year-old Karl-Anthony Towns straight out of Kentucky was following a similar path.
For his part, Towns firmly believed that he would be able to replicate what LeBron had done for the Cleveland Cavaliers and to the NBA upon his arrival. The young Timberwolves star, however, quickly realized that this simply wasn't going to be the case:
“I thought I had that LeBron (James) effect. I could come in and just do it by myself,” Towns said, via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “But this is the NBA. You realize you really can’t do it by yourself.”
To be fair, Towns wasn't bad at all in his rookie year. He was no LeBron but he definitely made a significant impact for both the Timberwolves and on the rest of the league. After all, there is simply no one like LeBron James.
As a rookie, KAT averaged 18.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game en route to bagging Rookie of the Year honors. However, being the immense competitor that he is, Towns would not settle. He worked hard in the summer and he came out even stronger in his sophomore year, significantly improving his numbers in nearly all statistical categories.
It's great that Towns realized early on that in the NBA, it isn't all about individual talent. It may be a cliche, but at the end of the day, one player is only as good as the rest of his squad:
“It takes a team of people who are willing to sacrifice and be the stars in their roles to really make winning happen,” he said. “And it takes more than one person. And especially in the league, we’re talking about we’re playing now, it takes two, three superstars to have a chance.”
Karl Anthony-Towns has been on quite a journey with the Timberwolves. Now in his seventh season with the team, the 26-year-old is now looking to lead this team to new heights. Minnesota has been to the NBA Playoffs just once in the past 16 years so, at this point, KAT and Co. are hoping to improve on this miserable record this season.