B/R: How hard are you lobbying Kevin Garnett to come back and give you one more year of Thibodeau-specific teachings because of his experience with Thibs? KAT: We all love KG. We all love KG. We loved his presence on the court. But that’s not my job. He deserves to do whatever he wants to do in his career. He’s earned that right. He’s earned his Hall of Fame status. Whatever he chooses, we’re going to support him, and we’re going to love him no matter what he does.
B/R: After having such a great and such an acclaimed rookie year—Western Conference Rookie of the Month every month, probable Rookie of the Year, people talking about All-NBA teams, throwing around things like “the best rookie big man since Tim Duncan,” things like that—how do you pinpoint which areas of your game to improve over the summer? Is it just a general “I have to get better” type of thing, or do you have specific areas you want to work on? KAT: I’ve always been a big philosopher of in the offseason you work on every single facet of your game. Don’t pinpoint something. Because you limit yourself if you specialize in something, and I’m not a specialist in anything. I’m a person and a player who bases off of versatility, trying to do every single thing really well. That’s what I’m going to do this summer. I’m going to do everything I can to my body, to my physical skill set, even adding some components that I feel I can add. I’m just going to do that to be the most complete player I can be.
Karl-Anthony Towns: Sam Mitchell really taught me how to be a professional. I came in with a great mindset, a great mentality about the game of basketball, how to conduct myself; and Coach [John] Calipari did that. But it’s different when you come in the league, him teaching me how to do certain things: how to talk to people, how to talk to officials, how to do this and that. He taught me so much about how to be an NBA professional. Him coaching me, being a former player, it had a huge effect on me. It allowed me to have a much easier transition into the role that I was given.
KAT: It’s amazing the veterans that we had, how Flip’s vision of having veterans not only included having very talented and Hall of Fame-ballot veterans, but having veterans that had great personalities. And their personalities meshed in completely well with ours, and that’s why we were so successful at getting better and progressing so quickly to the team that we wanted to be. Tayshaun, Andre Miller, KG…they meshed with us so well, personally, and in our lives and everything. Our locker room—other than Kentucky—was the best I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s a testament to Flip’s vision.