Karl-Anthony Towns vs Nikola Jokic: A Battle for All-NBA

 

NBA fans from all over the country witnessed both of these unicorns take each other on in the season finale with the playoffs on the line. Both had stellar nights and are each deserving of an All-NBA nod. This piece will serve as a reminder that while both deserving, Karl-Anthony Towns has not only set himself apart from his rival unicorn, but from the rest of the NBA as a whole.

While both considered unicorns, there is a lot of nuance present in both of their games. Towns has a dominant low and high post game, nails 3 pointers at an extreme clip, and has enough athleticism to run the open court. Something I wish he would do more. Jokic on the other hand has the game of a player from 30 to 40 years ago. Watch any video of him faking a post hook and you will immediately know what I am talking about. He can also shoot the ball very well inside the arc as well as from deep.

Let’s compare both players by per 36 numbers as well as by advanced numbers.

Per 36:

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 9.35.31 AM
basketballreference.com

Towns leads in all major statistical categories except for assists, steals, and personal fouls committed. Towns takes less shots but still scores a 1.1 points per game more than Jokic on a per 36 minutes basis. All the shooting numbers in the table above suggest that Towns is a better shooter. Both players have plenty of room for improvement on defense so Jokic makes up no ground there either.

Advanced:

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 9.41.35 AM.png

Even on an advanced level, we see that Jokic only leads in assist %, steal %, and VORP. An advanced comparison between the two suggests exactly what the per 36 did in this situation. I am not arguing that Jokic isn’t one of the most talented big men in the game of basketball. But Karl-Anthony Towns is on a different level than most of his counterparts and is well worthy of making his first All-NBA team. If he doesn’t, then there are questions to be asked in regard to the decision making process of All-NBA selections.

 

photo credit durangoherald.com

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