Karl-Anthony Towns says he pays no attention.
Towns, the Timberwolves rookie center, is a shoo-in for the NBA Rookie of the Year award. He is averaging 18.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. And he is on the verge of rendering any discussion of the best rookie season in franchise history unnecessary.
But Towns said he tries not to pay attention to whatever milestone he’s closing in on.
“No, but I know my team celebrates every time I do something,” Towns said.
Towns said those teammates make it a point of telling Towns where he stands.
“Especially Zach,” Towns said of Zach LaVine. “Again, my teammates are celebrating me every step of the way.’’
Towns, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds in Monday’s 121-116 victory over Phoenix, ranks third all-time among Wolves rookies in scoring with 1,355 points. He trails teammate Andrew Wiggins (1,387 last season) and Christian Laettner (1,472 in 1992-93). Towns needs to average 14.6 points over the final eight games to eclipse Laettner.
Meanwhile, Towns is already the Wolves rookie leader in rebounds (762) and is second in blocks, needing six more to pass Kevin Garnett’s 131 in 1995-96.
Towns is already the franchise rookie leader in double-doubles (45). He also has the most games with at least 20 points and either 10 rebounds or 10 assists as a rookie (23).
Towns said nobody was happier for him than Garnett.
“He has helped me out through this whole thing,” Towns said. “He teaches me every single secret he has. Just working with me on a daily basis has improved my game dramatically.’’
Seeing as they were teammates at Kentucky last season, it’s no surprise that Towns and Phoenix rookie guard Devin Booker have remained close. Booker, still 19 — the youngest player drafted — has had a very strong second half and stands fifth among rookie scorers at 13.3 points per game.
“He’s like my brother,” Towns said. “We keep in touch a lot with each other. I can’t explain to you how great our relationship is.’’
But there is a limit to everything. Towns has won every Western Conference rookie of the month award since the season began. He was asked if he would consider letting Booker in on the action.
“Who, Book?” Towns said. “We had a conversation about that.’’
Sounds like the answer might be no.
Shabazz Muhammad still is struggling to find a rhythm with the second unit.
Before Monday’s game, Muhammad had scored in double figures just once in six games. He began the month scoring 10 or more in five of seven games. His minutes have dwindled a bit, too.
“Coach [Sam] Mitchell has been saying I’m the primary scorer on that second group,’’ he said. “That’s something I have to do more of. That’s my job, to come in and score the ball, rebound the ball for us, in that second group.’’
Muhammad looked better Monday, scoring 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting with five rebounds in 14 minutes.