Ringer: Towns and Wiggins are the New KD and Westbrook

Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are the new Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are the next Oklahoma City Thunder — or at least what they could have been — writes Jason Concepcion for The Ringer.

In terms of play, Concepcion directly compares Towns to recently retired San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan as well as Durant, who joined the Golden State Warriors in the offseason.

“Like Durant, who cops to being 7 feet tall only when spitting his ladies-man game, Towns represents the next evolutionary step for the NBA big man’s continuing journey out of the post,” he writes. “He’s a young Tim Duncan with a 3-pointer, a future MVP-level player who has already altered the trajectory of his woebegone franchise.”

In order to be the next OKC, however, Concepcion says that Towns needs stars around him, just like KD had in Oklahoma.

“Wiggins has more in common with Russell Westbrook than meets the eye,” he writes. “Both are slashers who use overwhelming athleticism to power through thickets of defenders and overcome a lack of shooting range. Last season, Wiggins took 550 shots within 6 feet of the basket, joining Westbrook (641) and Isaiah Thomas (604) as the only backcourt players in the top 12 of such attempts.”

The team also needs a veteran presence, which naturally is Kevin Garnett, who Concepcion compares to…Nick Collison?

“Back in 2010, Thunder GM Sam Presti signed then-29-year-old Collison to a funkily structured extension designed to keep him in OKC while providing future cap flexibility,” he writes. “The idea was to give the Thunder’s core of youngsters a veteran presence — a glue guy both on and off the court. His experience was vital to a team that was greener than the Hulk.”

He also praised the hire of Tom Thibodeau and openly asks whether Zach LaVine or Kris Dunn can be James Harden in this situation, while giving a nod to Minnesota’s draft-and-develop methods.

“The Minnesota Timberwolves have always felt like a regional organization,” he writes. “Squint through the snow-refracted glare and you can see the logic. Winter in Minnesota is dark, desolate, and marked by otherworldly cold, providing no respite from the very public pressures of professional sports.”

He thinks that the Wolves have the right pieces in-house, however, due to their good fortune in getting the No. 1 overall pick to select Towns and being in the right situation to deal Kevin Love for Wiggins.

“What’s harder than being just lucky?” he asks to end the piece, which is concise a good read. “That one has an answer: being lucky and good.”

[The Ringer]
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