The 2016 NBA Rookie class has been nothing short of spectacular. The Minnesota Timberwolves have been one of the beneficiaries of solid play from first year stars, and have made tremendous strides this season because of them.
Karl Anthony-Towns was the top overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. So far the return has been great, as Towns is second amongst all rookies in points, and first in rebounds. He is exactly what the doctor ordered for Timberwolves, an athletic big that can stretch the floor and hit the open jump shot.
Towns has also played well on the defensive end. His three blocks per game lead all rookies and place him in the top-10 of all NBA players. He has shown some of the same traits as one of the Timberwolves all-time greats.
You can’t find a better role model than Minnesota legend, Kevin Garnett, whom has taken Towns under his wing, teaching him the tricks of the trade.
“You know what, I think a lot of my points today came off one dribble going to the basket,” Towns said. “With them being 6-9 and lighter and me being 7-foot, that’s not supposed to happen. I was just seeing openings. I was utilizing the little things KG taught me about getting to the basket, and it really worked.”
With Towns already developing at a rapid pace, the Wolves are also seeing contributions from another prized rookie, Nemanja Bjelica.
The 6’10 Serbian has been one of the most underrated rookies of this year’s class.
Bjelica averages 8.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest on the young season, and has seen significant minutes for the Timberwolves in crucial situations.
Originally drafted in 2010, Bjelica isn’t your typical NBA rookie. He has spent all of his professional career overseas, last playing in Turkey.
The 27-year-old was named the 2015 Euroleague MVP, and was selected to the 2015 All-Euroleague First Team.
With the experience of Bjelica and the seemingly unlimited potential of Towns,
Timberwolves coach, Sam Mitchell, has a potent core of young talent at his disposal. And while Minnesota isn’t a playoff team quite yet, the optimism in the Twin Cities is at an all-time high.