Karl-Anthony Towns appears determined to prove his doubters wrong.
The Minnesota Timberwolves big man told Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports that any concern over his pairing with Rudy Gobert next season is overblown.
"I think that Rudy's one of the best defensive players we've ever had in the NBA. He has the hardware to prove it," Towns said. "I think I'm one of the best offensive players and talents the NBA has ever seen. So putting us together gives us really a whole spectrum of talent to use."
In the aftermath of the Wolves' blockbuster trade for Gobert, some wondered how the two big men would fit in the modern NBA. Teams have increasingly eschewed two-big lineups in favor of having rangier 4s who can switch more readily against guards.
Towns says he's more capable of defending out on the perimeter than his reputation may indicate and added he's willing to sacrifice to make the partnership work.
"I've sacrificed at every level. I've sacrificed narratives of me. I've sacrificed possibly being the No. 1 pick in college when I fully accepted the platoon system. You know, no one else does that," Towns said. "I came to the NBA, I sacrificed everything I can, my body included, to try to get us to the playoffs. I sacrificed everything. I've sacrificed my life. I've sacrificed time with my mother. I've sacrificed public opinion of me. All for the betterment of my team, my teammates, their lives, what they're trying to accomplish."
While Towns has a long way to go in moving up the ranks of NBA history, he is certainly one of the best offensive bigs of his generation—and perhaps the greatest shooting center in history. Towns is a career 39.7 percent shooter from three-point range and has been over the 40-percent mark in four of the past five seasons.
Nikola Jokic eclipses Towns in the best offensive big man category by virtue of his generational passing, but it'd be fair to put the Minnesota All-Star in second place.
Gobert is the best defensive center of this generation, having already won three Defensive Player of the Year awards. His periodic struggles with rangier bigs have cropped up in the playoffs, and it's fair to wonder whether giving up a boatload of future first-round draft picks for a 30-year-old 7-footer likely starting his decline was a prudent move.
Regardless, it's hard to argue there's much overlapping skillset between Gobert and Towns.