Which Timberwolves Big Man Deserves NBA All-Star Nod More, KAT or Rudy Gobert?

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Anthony Edwards will be an All-Star in 2023-2024. You can easily argue that he should already have been named to the Western Conference starting lineup, which were announced on Thursday evening. But there are zero doubts about whether or not Ant’s name will be called on February 1, when full East and West rosters will be revealed on TNT.

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That’s not the case for a couple of other Minnesota Timberwolves superstars, specifically big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. Will either (maybe both) of Edwards’ teammates join him on the West’s All-Star roster in Indiana?

There’s a lot of front court talent right now around the league and it’s hard to see both guys making it. So if only one Wolves big man is selected, who should get it? Who deserves it more?

Does Karl-Anthony Towns Deserve to Be an All-Star?

karl-anthony towns
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Two-time All-NBA and three-time All-Star, Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the best shooting bigs of all time. While others like Joel Embiid score more points, few power forwards and centers are more efficient than KAT. In fact, there is only one PF/C in the NBA this season (with >200 3PT attempts) who has a higher effective field goal rate than Towns and it’s his teammate, Naz Reid.

Only nine players have ever landed in the 50/40/90 club, and Towns is flirting with becoming the tenth this season. He’s shooting 52% from the field, 42% from deep. The only thing holding him back from becoming the 10th member to this exclusive club is his 88% free-throw rate, which would be his career best for a season.

Recently, Towns has been on an absolute tear, topping his new career-high with a 62-point game against Charlotte, albeit in a losing effort. Other stars may gripe when a new player comes in and clearly steals the spotlight as the new franchise player in town, but not KAT. Instead, he’s embraced playing the role of big brother to Anthony Edwards, helping him reach his full potential.

But we can’t forget about how effective Towns has still been too. He’s a perfect fit in coach Chris Finch’s offense next to Rudy Gobert, and he’s also played a major role in improving the Timberwolves’ defense, shown by ranking third in the NBA in defensive win shares this season.

Still, is Towns an All-Star? Even after averaging 26.1 PPG while shooting 54% from the field and an incredible 49.4% from distance throughout the month of January, knowing there are only 12 slots available, it’s tough to see how KAT snags a spot this year.

Timberwolves’ Success Should Make Rudy Gobert an All-Star

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Towns may or may not deserve an All-Star nod, especially after his recent stretch of excellent performances. But what about the Timberwolves’ top defender, Rudy Gobert? Coming into the year, some thought it was only a matter of time before Tim Connelly blew up the roster, admitting his ‘mistake’ by trading for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Turns out, the haters were wrong.

Gobert has helped Minnesota become the best defensive team in the NBA. Not only do the Wolves allow fewer points than any other team, but they have the league’s best defensive rating too. While others deserve credit, Gobert is the engine that makes it all work. He’s all but completely repaired the hit to his reputation, after his down 2022-23, and is now back on track to win his fourth DPOY award.

Teammate Mike Conley recently called Gobert one of the five most impactful NBA players today. While we’re not ready to go that far, his impact on the Timberwolves has been undeniable. But hey, it’s not just teammates and Timberwolves fans who see how Gobert has returned to dominating the paint. NBA experts have taken notice too.

The Athletic’s Zach Harper recently selected who he’d pick as NBA All-Star reserves. Obviously, Edwards was included, but only one of the Timberwolves bigs earned a nod between Gobert and KAT.

Harper feels Gobert has done enough to merit his fourth All-Star appearance, but not Towns. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide any reasons why one player was left out while others were included, but he did advocate for the league to expand rosters from 12 to 15 players.

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As to who Harper chose over Towns? Well, Rudy is obviously one big that beat him out, in Harper’s projection. He also opted for Houston’s Alperen Sengun, LAL’s Anthony Davis, and LAC’s Kawhi Leonard in the frontcourt.

When seeing that list, it’s hard to argue Towns as more deserving. That doesn’t mean he’s not in the midst of a great season, though. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out but it will be intriguing to see if either, any or both of the Wolves big men make it.

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