Plenty of No. 1 overall picks have stepped into the league and had an immediate impact, but few have been this instantly awesome from day one. According to Towns, his experience at NCAA powerhouse University of Kentucky has had a lot to do with his easy transition. “It feels like I already played a full professional season having been at the University of Kentucky,” Towns told Basketball Insiders. “Put that with the amount of away games we had there and we were also never home, so I transitioned well into the NBA with the travel and everything. It just has come easier for me than for a lot of people.”
“He doesn’t have the fundamentals of boxing out down, but he is still averaging 10 rebounds,” the scout said. “He doesn’t have go-to moves in the post, but he is still so dangerous at the rim. He has a hard time guarding outside the paint, but he is such an active interior defender, he’s a positive on that side. “He has looked so good already, how is he going to look once he gets comfortable shooting the 3 and taking defenders into the block?”
Whiteside engaged in some physical play with Kevin Garnett and rookie Karl-Anthony Towns, and got into a verbal spat with Adreian Payne. “I don’t know what Payne was talking about,” Whiteside said. “I didn’t say nothing to the guy. I think he made a layup over me, and thought it was the greatest thing ever in the world. I said, ‘You pump-faked four times. So he must respect me somewhere.”
Nazr Mohammed: His trash talking was renowned and it certainly wasn’t a novelty act. It actually made him a much more difficult player to guard. KG could beat you with so many moves on the court, but his trash talking was a weapon too. It was like another move. His words, when combined with his skills, would cause opponents to overreact. They’d get so caught up in what he’d say that they’d lose focus on everything else going on around them. Players would eventually try to be more physical with him out of frustration and commit dumb fouls in the process. He’d face you up, hit a jump shot and verbally destroy you with his mastery of profane words in The King’s English. It actually gave him a tactical advantage in such an emotional game. His trash talk could make you a less effective player. It made you want to run through a screen set by him instead of around it.
Garnett’s dynamic skill set made sense to Heat forward Chris Bosh from an early age. Bosh won’t forget the numerous vicious encounters he has had with Garnett. But he also appreciates Garnett’s legacy, one Bosh insists is largely defined by how Garnett transformed the traditional power forward spot to the do-it-all hybrid position that dominates today’s NBA. “He was an inspiration for me to be here,” Bosh said. “When I was in high school, when they called me [Baby] KG, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. [For] a skinny guys like me, he was the first guy I saw that kind of had the body type that I did get the rebound, block a shot, take it down, finish, pick and pop, hit a jumper, take them to the post, give them everything they want.”