Karl-Anthony Towns has established himself as one of the best young big men in the NBA, and Boston’s Al Horford has had a hand in the 20-year-old’s success.
“Our moms are tremendously close,” Towns told reporters on Monday. “Our families are tremendously close. So it's always gonna be fun when we get to play.”
Horford was born in the Dominican Republic while Towns grew up in New Jersey but his mother is from the Dominican Republic.
They played together on the Dominican National team under Kentucky head coach John Calipari who coached Towns during his lone season at Kentucky.
There’s a decade of time between the two, but that hasn’t kept them from keeping in touch.
And while Towns counts ex-Celtic Kevin Garnett has one of his biggest influences, Horford’s experience and wisdom has also benefited him.
“You know, I think Al's really the first person to get me to understand how important the mid-range shot was,” Towns said. “And I think that's treated me tremendously well. Especially my first two years in the league. Last year, especially. That was a big thanks to Al for really raising my eyes to how special and unique it is to have that shot.”
This season he’s averaging 21.8 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range.
Towns is one of just three players (Boston’s Avery Bradley and Golden State’s Kevin Durant are the others) in the NBA averaging at least 17 points and eight rebounds while shooting 40 percent or better from 3-point range.
While the numbers are impressive, they haven’t translated into the kind of team-wide success Towns is looking for, the kind of success that Horford has had throughout his NBA career.
“It's a process. You know, we're young,” Towns said. “That's one thing that I can actually say, ‘we're young. We're not used to doing this every single night with the same intensity.’ You know, we have to have the discipline and have the mentality that every single night we're playing a team like the Boston Celtics, or the Warriors, or the Spurs. We have to give everything we have. We've gotta go out there and we've gotta compete at the highest level every single night. We're getting there. Getting better and better... We've just gotta put one and one together and see if we can make two.”