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Karl-Anthony Towns: ‘I’m desensitized to being disrespected in this league’

Karl-Anthony Towns

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 01: Minnesota Timberwolves Center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) looks on during a NBA game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Clippers on February 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Karl-Anthony Towns called missing All-NBA third team in 2017 – a selection that would’ve allowed him to earn an extra $31,650,600 on his contract extension – “a learning experience.”

What did the Timberwolves star learn from not making the 2020 All-Star game?

Not a darned thing.

Towns, via Chris Hine of the StarTribune

“I’m worried about our team, about getting W’s,” Towns said. “I’m desensitized to being disrespected in this league. I’ve been disrespected since I came in. It’s nothing new when I didn’t see my name up there. When you’re a person who’s been disrespected like me so much, it’s something you expect, honestly. You’re kind of shocked when you do get it.”
“It’s unfortunate that this year’s All-Star Game won’t have the 24 best players in the NBA,” he said. “But we got to go out there every night and just find ways to win, because it’s not about the All-Star Game, it’s about being in the NBA finals, being in the playoffs, about winning games. That’s how you build a legacy.”

Towns is following the argument of his friend Devin Booker, who also complained about the best players not being named All-Stars.

The simple reason Towns isn’t an All-Star: He has missed 17 games. If he were healthy, he would have made it.

Voters – whether fans, players and media picking starters or coaches picking reserves – always favor players who produced more in the first half of the season. That wasn’t Towns. It’s nothing personal.

Also not All-Stars? Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Paul George and Kyrie Irving. They’re among the NBA’s 24 best players, too.

That said, I thought Towns (and Booker) should have made it. I don’t think it’s worth parsing a partial season for picking entrants into a legacy-altering exhibition game. Put in the best players. Consider more than just the tiny 2019-20 sample. Towns’ track record shows he’s a very good player.

People generally treat him as such. He was the No. 1 pick. He won Rookie of the Year. He has made an All-NBA team and two All-Star teams. What would being respected would look like?

As bright as Towns’ present and future look, there are real questions about his winning habits. He couldn’t coexist with his best teammate (Jimmy Butler) and plays with far too little defensive intensity. If he didn’t also appear desensitized to losing, maybe he’d earn the benefit of the doubt and get picked as an All-Star even while facing moderate injury issues.