BOSTON -- To the surprise of few, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns was this year’s runaway winner for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Towns garnered all 130 first-place votes from a panel of media in the United States and Canada. He is the fifth player to win the award unanimously since 1984, when Ralph Sampson became the first to do so.
And with teammate Andrew Wiggins winning the award last year, the Timberwolves are the first franchise in 42 years to produce back-to-back rookies of the year.
New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis was a distant second with 117 second-place votes and 12 third-place votes for a total score of 363 points. Finishing third was Denver’s Nikola Jokic, who garnered 7 second-place votes and 38 third-place votes for a total of 59 points.
The success of Towns underscores the importance of landing the top overall pick, something the Celtics have a 15.6 percent chance of doing at the NBA draft lottery tomorrow night.
Towns, the top overall pick in last year’s draft, is the fourth No. 1 overall selection to be named Rookie of the Year in the past six seasons, which speaks to how the top overall selection has come into the NBA and established themselves from the outset.
The 7-foot Towns led all rookies in scoring (18.3) and rebounding (10.5 per game, 8th in the NBA) while ranking second in blocks (1.68 per game, 10th in the NBA). In addition, he had 51 double-doubles, which was third in the NBA and his 54.2 field goal percentage ranked 8th in the league.
It was the kind of dominating season one would expect from the top overall pick, something the Celtics would love to get a shot at duplicating if the ping pong balls bounce their way tomorrow night.