NBA

Davis Towns.

Karl-Anthony Towns Vs Anthony Davis: The race to be the NBA's greatest

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The way the Golden State Warriors have dominated for the past two years, one could be forgiven for thinking the league is turning into a guard's playground.

The days of the all-conquering big man are dying and the three-point shot is the holy grail of basketball, right?

All the evidence points in that direction. Sure, there are plenty of exceptional four and fives in the NBA, but can any of them rub shoulders with, say, Shaquille O'Neal?

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Since Diesel retired, the monster in the paint has become a cog to the 'small ball' era - albeit an important one. Blocks and rebounds are still ultra-important on the balance of play, but given the league's desire to space the floor and manipulate a perimeter offence, the giants on the hardwood are often bypassed in attack and consigned to obligatory screens.

Look at Dwight Howard in Houston last year.

However, for all the Warriors' success with the 2015 NBA title and setting regular season record of 73 wins last term, two bigs are set to dominate for the next decade and beyond.

United States v Dominican Republic - Men's Exhibition Game

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis are two top pedigree superstars that are destined to be poster boys in the NBA. Both men hail from a top-tier college in Kentucky, both were number one overall picks in their draft classes and only three years separate them in age.

They only met once last year in three chances after Anthony Davis' season was shut down early to correct knee and shoulder issues.

Davis' New Orleans Pelicans came out on top over the Minnesota Timberwolves on that occasion back in February with an 116-102 win. Their franchise player's 27 points and eight rebounds led the way, but Towns replied with 19 points and 12 boards of his own. Ultimately, it wasn't enough to win their first duel.

Let's take a deeper look at both men.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards

What a phenomenal rookie season the Timberwolves center enjoyed.

KAT averaged 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game - the best rookie season by a big man since Tim Duncan - and he unanimously won the Rookie of the Year award.

He led all qualified rookies in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage (.542), double-doubles (51) and minutes (32.0 mpg), and was second in blocks (1.68 bpg) and third in free throw percentage (.811).

At just 20-years-old and a formidable 7'0", Towns has crazy upside. He can do just about everything - including shooting 34 percent from behind the arc - and he was also named as the Western Conference rookie of the month in every month in which the award was handed out last term.

The idea that he is only going to get better is frightening.

Anthony Davis

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans

The Brow can go on and be one of the best big men in the league one day, if he isn't already. However, the 23-year-old is capable of being the best player in the league - period.

Already a three-time All-Star, Olympic gold medallist and two-time regular season blocks leader, Davis has asserted himself on the NBA in a very average Pelicans unit.

He holds career averages of 19.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks and last season, he improved his three-point shooting to 32 percent.

How do you play against him? You can't. He came close to a five-by-five with a 28-point, 10-rebound, 4-assist, 4-block, 4-steal effort on back in February against the San Antonio Spurs, but the best was yet to come.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge 2016

Also in February, Davis would drop 59 points and grab 20 rebounds in an overtime win against the Detroit Pistons. At 6'10", Davis has Lebron James-esque athleticism and is a matchup nightmare for anyone.

The only one who has a genuine chance of taming him in the years to come is Towns. Looking at how special these two guys are and how their timelines are colliding, they are going to be the most intriguing battle of the next 10-15 years.

New Orleans and Minnesota will just hope they will remain their respective homes during this golden age.

Topics:
Karl-Anthony Towns
Minnesota Timberwolves
Northwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
New Orleans Pelicans
Southwest Division
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Anthony Davis

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