I’d like to invite everyone to join me in wishing Karl Anthony-Towns a Happy 22nd Birthday! Happy Birthday KAT! May your day consist of whatever a big ass kitty like yourself enjoys, including kicking some Western Conference Rival ass.

Now that the formalities are out-of-the-way, let’s talk basketball. This tweet yesterday from Timberwolves PR account caught my attention:

It shows where Towns ranks all-time amongst players before their 22nd birthday. No worries about the pictures being hard to see. I will break them down for you. Johnny Minnesota, as always, at your service.

One person you won’t find on these lists is Jahlil Okafor. Does everyone remember early 2015? Okafor seemed like a lock to go as the number one pick. His dad was a broke-ass version of Lavar Ball before Lavar Ball was relevant. Father Okafor was basically demanding his son go to the Lakers. How did that work out?

Terrible for him. Minnesota ended up taking KAT first overall, in the 2015 draft. The Lakers took De’Angelo Russel (What’s up, Snapchat) and the Duke big man fell to third. Fast forward to today, Jahlil doesn’t start for a loaded 76ers front-court, and is a staple in trade talks. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, I’m about to compare KAT to F****EN SHAQUILLE O’NEAL!

 

Do you have your math hat on? Good. Here we go:

Shaq entered the NBA at an age about 4 months older than Towns. Towns has more games played before his 22 birthday than Superman. So, what’s the right thing to do from a math angle? Break down per game averages instead of career totals, with help from the Wolves PR:

Points Per Game (before age 22):

  • #2 – Shaq (25.5)
  • #5 – KAT (21.7)

Rebounds Per Game (before age 22)

  • #1 – Shaq (13.4)
  • #4 – KAT (11.4)

True Shooting % (before age 22)

  • #3 – KAT (.608)
  • #10 – Shaq (.592)

Looking at these categories, you have to give the edge to Shaq. However, our future HOF Center is right there with the most dominant player I’ve ever seen.

That is correct. Most dominant player I’ve ever seen. First of all, I’m not blowing by MJ with that statement. Unfortunately, I was in diapers for most of his prime. No disrespecting Lebron, but Shaq was just a different animal. They changed the rules because of him. Take a step back and think about that for a second.

If Karl Anthony-Towns helps bring even 1 championship to our state, we’ll be celebrating one of his future birthdays by raising a statue.

Towns and Shaq are completely different in a lot of ways, yet eerily similar in the boxscore. For example, Towns possesses an outside game that Shaq only dreamed of. Shaq dreamed of having the shooting range and respect, from defenders, from the outside. KAT also has handles. Shaq had handles once in an All-Star Game… Oh, and KAT can shoot free throws. No hack-a-KAT being played vs. the Wolves. 

KAT possesses a lot of the skill Shaq had down-low while being able to expand his game. This gives the defense a lot more to think about. But Shaq and KAT also played in much different times. Big men shooting from the outside, when Shaq was in his prime, was laughed at. 

The stats are what’s similar, as you see above. But Shaq was DOMINANT at being the classic big man. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, from that standpoint. He had the touch close to the rim but strength that’s still unmatched. KAT is REALLY good at almost EVERY facet of the game (offensively….), including skill categories he isn’t supposed to be proficient in.

As of today, Shaquille O’Neal is a 4 time NBA Champion. He has his Ph.D and his net worth exceeds $400 million. As the stats above showed, our guy is a little below Shaq. So, what’s a little below 4 titles? 2 rings? Shit.

Cue the highlights:

 

Johnny Minnesota @mnsportsnstuff
Minnesota Sports Fan MinnesotaSportsFan.com

Sources: BankRate.com, Complex.com, SBNation.com, basketball-reference.com, @Timberwolves_PR