By RYAN ARANDA
After the long wait, the start of the National Basketball Association is now among us. While some unexpected teams have had strong starts to the season, there are also many players who have played well above expectations thus far.
I’ll start off with Minnesota Timberwolves rookie center, Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns was selected first overall in the 2015 draft by the Timberwolves after an impressive freshman year at the University of Kentucky. While we didn’t get to see all of what the rookie center could do at Kentucky due to their deep bench and Coach Calipari’s rotation, so far this season, Towns has proven his worth as the number one overall pick.
Towns, in my opinion, has been the best performing rookie to begin the season. In just his second career NBA game, the nineteen-year-old center recorded 28 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. In this game, Towns would make history by becoming only the second teenager of all time to have 28 points and 14 rebounds in a game. What other teenager accomplished this remarkable feat? The one and only LeBron James would be the first to do so.
I’m looking for Towns to continue this excellent play that he has begun the year with, as he is on a team with multiple offensive weapons to help spread the floor for the Timberwolves. In addition to Towns, Minnesota also has the reigning 2015 Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, and former fifth overall pick, Ricky Rubio to help contribute offensively.
Through his first three games, the number one pick has averaged about 18 points, 10 rebounds, and about three blocks.
Karl-Anthony Towns will be a strong candidate for the Rookie of the Year if he can continue this play.
Another player who has impressed me thus far is Oklahoma City point guard, Russell Westbrook.
Last year, the OKC point guard recorded MVP-like averages of 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. This year, some may have thought that with the return of OKC’s former MVP, Kevin Durant, that this would affect Westbrook’s total production. However this has not been the case by any means.
Through three games, Westbrook has averaged 30 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. It now looks like we may have a possible MVP candidate besides Durant in Oklahoma.
Along with Westbrook, the Thunder also has star small forward, Kevin Durant, and defensive power forward, Serge Ibaka. With the lack of a strong bench and multiple offensive stars that OKC has, this will only add more minutes and stats for Westbrook.
The former UCLA Bruin has established himself as not only one of the best point guards in the league, but as a top five player in the whole NBA.
These are just a few of many NBA stars who are poised to have great success this season.