Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns misses All-NBA team

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 30: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 30: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns missed out on the All-NBA Third Team, costing him roughly $33 million over the next five years.

When it became apparent that the Minnesota Timberwolves were going to miss the playoffs, the latter stages of the 2018-19 season became all about getting Karl-Anthony Towns an All-NBA nod.

Towns responded, averaging 27.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 blocks per game with a shooting line of .553/.449/.815 after Feb. 1.

But when the voting results were released on Thursday, Towns was not included on any of the three All-NBA teams. The three centers listed ahead of him were Nikola Jokic (First Team), Joel Embiid (Second Team), and Rudy Gobert (Third Team).

For what it’s worth, Towns managed only 20 total votes, all for Third Team. Gobert landed 89 total points, including one vote for First Team and five for Second Team. Jokic had 411 points, edging Embiid’s 375.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) allows for players on maximum contracts who are named to one of the All-NBA team to take up a larger percentage of their franchise’s cap space. Making an All-NBA team would have meant that Towns could have made up to $191 million over the next five years. As it stands, he’ll make about $158 million, as The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski points out.

While it’s indisputable that Gobert is the the best defensive center in the league — they don’t call him the Stifle Tower for nothing, after all — the gap on offense is significant.

Sure, Gobert led the NBA in field goal percentage at 66.9, the average distance of his shot attempts was 2.2 feet away from the rim. Towns, on the other hand, shot from an average distance of 11.4 feet and still managed to shoot 51.8 percent from the floor.

Additionally, Towns’ True Shooting Percentage (TS%) clocked in at 62.2 percent compared to Gobert’s 68.2, which also led the league. TS% takes into account 3-point and free throw shooting, which is a better all-around view of a players proficiency from the field.

Of course, nobody is suggesting that Towns should have made the Third Team over Gobert simply because of his 3-point shooting ability, but it would also be impossible to argue that Gobert was more valuable than Towns on the offensive end of the floor.

With Towns’ clear improvement on defense and continued dominance on offense, there was a real case to be made for KAT landing on the third team ahead of Gobert. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

At any rate, Wolves fans can hope for an ultra-motivated Towns next year. And not just because of the the Third Team snub, but also because frenemy Embiid made the Second Team and divisional rival Jokic was a first-teamer.

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This quartet of centers will continue to be compared against one another as their careers advance, and it’s fair to assume that Towns will gain some ground in the All-NBA rankings in the near future.