While the Coronavirus has halted the NBA season, it’s time for some NBA stars to take a step-back and evaluate the trajectory their careers can take. One of those young stars is Timberwolves Center Karl-Anthony Towns. The 24-year-old still has all the potential in the world to grow into one of the most dominant players in the league, but if he wants to cement his legacy and win a championship, Towns may have to look at how former NBA star Chris Bosh took his legacy into his own hands and became a future Hall of Famer.
Karl-Anthony Towns was drafted first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 NBA Draft. Some saw him as a transcendent big-man, a possible savior for the worst franchise in the NBA. While his numbers have been great in his first four-plus years (22.7 points 11.8 rebounds per game) his teams have not had the same success. The Wolves have won 29, 31, 47(Jimmy Butler season), 36, and 19 games when this season was suspended. That’s not a huge difference from what Bosh did during his first five seasons in the league. In those seasons Bosh averaged 18.9 points and nine rebounds a game and lead the Raptors to 33, 33, 27, 47, and 41 wins. In five years of service both made the playoffs once, with Bosh earning one more All-Star nod (3 to 2).
Bosh spent two more seasons floundering north of the border in Toronto. He became known as a talented forward who put up big stats on mediocre teams. That perception all changed when he decided to team-up with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010. The rest is history, the Heatles eventually bagged two championships in four years and became one of the best big-threes of all-time, cementing Bosh’s legacy as one of the greats.
To go down in history as an all-time great player Towns may have to follow in Bosh’s footsteps. This will be difficult because Towns is in the first-year of a five-year extension. He could force his way out of Minnesota, but won’t have much leverage for another two or three years. The other question is who will want to team up with Towns in order to create a championship caliber team? The go to answer for who Towns would team up with always seems to come down to the same guys; D’Angelo Russell and Devin Booker. Towns and Russell are already teammates with the Wolves but have only shared the court for one game together. Even if the three amigos somehow find their way to the same team through free agency or trades, it would be hard to conceive of a team anchored by Towns, Booker, and Russell as being legitimate title threats. All three are great offensive players, but are some of the worst defenders in the league. That wouldn’t be quite the same as Bosh landing with Wade and James, two top five players in 2010 and both top-25 players of all-time.To have the success (and luck) that Bosh found, Towns would need to upgrade his friends list significantly. Maybe Kawhi Leonard opts out of his Clippers deal after two years and wants to grab onto a younger star to keep his championship window open. Maybe young stars like Luka Doncic or Zion Williamson become the next wave of transcendent players and need a sidekick. The dream scenario and one that mirrors Bosh’s very closely would be if Towns found a way to team up with Kawhi and Damian Lillard. That team could compete and would give Towns a legitimate chance at multiple titles and redefine his legacy.
Towns has endless potential to still put together an amazing NBA career, but considering a Bosh like second act as a third banana could cement Towns as a sure-fire future Hall of Famer. Check back in 2035 to see which way his career goes.