LOS ANGELES – When the NBA announced its All-Star starters and reserves over the last week, center Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t on the list.
Towns had earned that distinction twice over the last two seasons and broke down last season when he found out he had made the team.
Towns spoke for the first time about not making the team after Saturday’s 118-106 loss to the Clippers.
“I’m worried about our team, about getting W's,” Towns said. “I’m desensitized to being disrespected in this league. I’ve been disrespected since I came in. It’s nothing new when I didn’t see my name up there. When you’re a person who’s been disrespected like me so much, it’s something you expect honestly. You’re kind of shocked when you do get it.”
Towns’ raw numbers made a compelling case for him to be included. His 27 points per game would rank 10th if he played enough games to qualify for the NBA’s leaderboard. That’s the most of any Western Conference frontcourt player except Kawhi Leonard. His 10.8 rebounds would rank 10th.
But one of the cases against Towns is the fact that Towns has missed 17 games this season – two to suspension, 15 to a left knee sprain and illness. Towns’ defensive metrics also don’t do him any favors. He is 65th out of 65 centers in defensive real plus-minus, ESPN’s metric that is supposed to calculate how a player adds to (or detracts from) his team winning regardless of who’s on the floor with him. Towns is first in offense among centers.
When asked is he was going to use this as motivation, as a chip on his shoulder, Towns said he didn’t need it and got in a shot at this year’s game.
“I’ve had a chip since I came in,” Towns said. “I’m on a journey that goes beyond All-Stars. I’m trying to be the best of the best. I have to go out there and continue to be better and continue to find ways to win for my team and try to build a legacy.
“It’s unfortunate that this year’s All-Star Game won’t have the 24 best players in the NBA, but we got to go out there every night and just find ways to win, because it’s not about the All-Star game, it’s about being in the NBA finals, being in the playoffs, about winning games. That’s how you build a legacy. All-Star is cool and stuff for the fans, but I’m here for the people in this locker room.”