Minnesota Timberwolves big man and 2015 No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns has been named 2015-16 Rookie of the Year, marking the first time since 1974 players from the same team won the award in back-to-back seasons. Teammate and 2014 No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins earned Rookie of the Year honors last season after coming over from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Kevin Love trade.
Towns won the award unanimously, earning all 130 first-place votes. Kristaps Porzingis finished second, followed by Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker and Jahlil Okafor. Porzingis received 117 of the 130 second-place votes, while eight different rookies finished with third-place votes.
T-Wolves @KarlTowns is the unanimous 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year. The following is the voting results: pic.twitter.com/g1YFeSi2p6— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 16, 2016
As highly touted as Wiggins was coming into the league, Towns was even more impressive in his rookie campaign, and his prolific first season already has many looking at the 20-year-old as the next great big man in the NBA. In addition to winning Rookie of the Year, he also swept Rookie of the Month honors in the Western Conference, which was last done by Damian Lillard in 2013.
Towns finished the season with averages of 18 points, nearly 11 rebounds, two assists and just under two blocks per game, and he did all that while shooting an efficient 54 percent overall and respectable 34 percent from long range. The list of players 20 years old or younger to average 18 and 10 is extremely short, and Towns posted the best true shooting percentage of the group, ahead of luminaries such as Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Davis. Toss in Towns' improving defense and tantalizing potential on that end, and you have a player who has the chance to be a transcendent talent for years to come.
While the Timberwolves only finished the year with a 29-53 record, the duo of Towns and Wiggins has them pointed in the right direction. Add in Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine and another high draft pick in 2016, and Minnesota should be in line for a playoff berth in 2016-17, especially with new president and head coach Tom Thibodeau now in place. If everything comes together nicely, Towns could be leading the next Western Conference power in a few years time.
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