Karl-Anthony Towns is this year's unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year, which is no surprise.

What has the potential to be instructive, though, is a quick look back at the eight other rookies in the past 20 years who won the award without anyone else getting three first-place votes.

2013: Damian Lillard (unanimous); 2012: Kyrie Irving; 2011: Blake Griffin (unanimous); 2007: Brandon Roy; 2006: Chris Paul; 2002: Pau Gasol; 1999: Vince Carter; 1998: Tim Duncan.

So of the eight: half of them (the four who have been around the longest) are near-cinches for the Hall of Fame (all better than 93 percent chance, per Basketball Reference). The two most recent, Lillard and Irving, are franchise-altering players. Griffin has been a perennial All-Star. And Roy was trending that way before his knees gave out.

It's safe to say Towns has joined some pretty good company.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. michael.rand@startribune.com.