Karl-Anthony Towns Says Anthony Edwards Is ROY over LaMelo Ball: 'He's the Best'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2021

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards (1) celebrate against Houston Rockets during an NBA basketball game Friday, March 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns campaigned for teammate Anthony Edwards to win the Rookie of the Year Award after Monday's 116-106 home win over the Sacramento Kings.

"He's the Rookie of the Year. I don't know what else to say," Towns told reporters. "He's proven he's the most talented player in the draft class. ... He's the best of the best."

Edwards, the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, recorded 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals in 38 minutes against the Kings. He's gained traction in the race for top rookie honors with the Charlotte Hornets' LaMelo Ball sidelined by a wrist injury.

Ball emerged as the front-runner for Rookie of the Year before fracturing his wrist during a March 20 game against the Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the injury and subsequent surgery will keep him out for the remainder of the season, but the Hornets haven't confirmed that timetable.

While his absence doesn't completely take him completely out of the award conversation, it's opened the door for the other contenders to make a statement during the season's final months.

Edwards and the Sacramento Kings' Tyrese Haliburton have made the biggest push. Here's a look at how the players' numbers stack up during the debut seasons:

  • Ball: 15.9 PPG, 6.1 APG, 5.9 RPG, 1.6 SPG in 41 games
  • Edwards: 17.6 PPG, 2.6 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.1 SPG in 51 games
  • Haliburton: 13.1 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG in 45 games

The New York Knicks' Immanuel Quickley, Detroit Pistons' Saddiq Bey and Houston Rockets' Jae'Sean Tate are also enjoying standout seasons and could enter the conversation with a strong stretch run.

Edwards has lived up to his billing of a terrific all-around athlete and scoring machine. The lingering question that will determine whether he becomes one of the NBA's truly upper-echelon players is whether he can improve his offensive efficiency.

The University of Georgia product is shooting just 39.4 percent from the field, including 31.3 percent from three, for the Wolves. The 19-year-old has still made a substantial impact, but there's definite room for improvement.

Even a slight uptick in his shooting percentages over the next six weeks could help put him over the top in a highly competitive Rookie of the Year race.