NBA All-Star Weekend is organized for entertainment purposes only. The results of the events — whether it be All-Star Saturday night or the All-Star game itself — have little to no meaning to NBA teams.
So it’s not really a big deal that Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t selected to the Western Conference All-Star team.
However, the fact that Towns wasn’t selected this year is absurd — and he’s making it look more and more absurd as the season goes.
Prior to NBA All-Star Weekend, Towns was playing All-Star caliber basketball. He showed improvement from his rookie season in all facets of his game — which is impressive in itself, considering how stellar Towns’ rookie season was.
And after a rough adjustment period with new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive scheme, Towns’ defensive efficiency has climbed steadily. He swatted away 1.5 shots per game and altered many others before the All-Star break.
Towns averaged 23.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 57 games before All-Star Weekend. He shot 51.6 percent from the field, 33.4 percent from beyond the arc and 82.5 percent from the free throw stripe.
The production was highly consistent, too. Towns posted 41 double-doubles in that period before All-Star Weekend, which trailed only Russell Westbrook (42) and James Harden (44) — and both played more games prior to the break than Towns.
Despite the elite numbers, Towns was not selected to the Western Conference All-Star team.
Instead, the big men that occupied the frontcourt for the West included Marc Gasol, Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan and DeMarcus Cousins. A strong case could be made for Towns over at least some of those four.
In fact, Towns’ per game averages of 23.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and .516 field goal percentage has been good enough to get an All-Star invite since Shaquille O’Neal was snubbed in 1999 — every player to reach those averages has made it.
Nonetheless, KAT was snubbed.
And I think he took it personally.
The unanimous 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year has been on an absolute tear since the All-Star break, destroying everything in his path with incredible efficiency. He has somehow upped his production from the first half of the season and kept the Wolves in contention for the final playoff spot in the West.
Since the All-Star break (10 games), Towns has 10 double-doubles and has averaged a stupid 28.0 points and 15.0 rebounds per game to go with shooting clips of 62.7 percent (overall), 41.3 percent (three-pointers) and 71.4 percent (free throws).
His shot chart in that time span is almost entirely green. Towns is getting it done all over the floor. I guess the only gameplan for opposing teams is to force him to the right corner.
On Wednesday, Towns had a streak of 21 consecutive games scoring 20 or more points snapped — a streak that was the longest active streak in the NBA and longest ever in Timberwolves franchise history.
This type of production doesn’t come from All-Star reserves. It comes from NBA All-Star starters.
The sophomore sensation has even added another nifty scoring move into his vast arsenal. It’s a move Dirk Nowitzki might be familiar with.
KAT’s magnificence since the All-Star break is elite for the standards of any NBA player. For instance, before Wednesday’s game in Boston, Towns was on pace to finish the season with 2006 points, 1007 rebounds and 96 threes. No player in NBA history has tallied a 2000-1000-50 season.
When you consider Towns’ ripe young age of 21, his production is transcendent.
Towns’ recent tear has elevated his season per-game averages to 24.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 53.4 percent shooting. Only one other player in the history of the NBA have recorded those averages during their age-21 season: O’Neal.
Additionally, O’Neal didn’t have the perimeter game Towns does. O’Neal missed his only two attempts from downtown during the 1993-94 season. Towns has hit on 78 of his 223 attempts from beyond the arc for a rock solid 35 percent clip this season.
It’s not a crazy statement to say Towns is in the midst of the most productive and efficient season ever by a 21-year-old player.
And he wasn’t an All-Star.
Towns’ consistent brilliance is being neglected with regularity throughout the NBA, for one reason or another. It might have to do with Minnesota’s small market, the Wolves’ win-loss record or both. Regardless, it takes a vast amount of ignorance to leave that level of production off the All-Star team.
NBA media and fans outside of Minnesota better start noticing Towns’ excellence soon, because he’s only getting better — and doing so at a rapid rate. He is the epitome of the new era NBA big man and very few team possess an answer to his versatility.
Towns’ latest tear offers a brief glimpse of his infinitely high ceiling, and proves that he is capable of shouldering the load as the face of the Timberwolves franchise.