* Karl-Anthony Towns, who was 19 years old when this NBA season started, was clearly the best player on the court. He finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds, scoring in pretty much every way imaginable.
* In spite of Towns’ brilliance, the Wolves almost coughed up a lead that was 14 points with 4 minutes left and 10 points with less than 90 seconds left. It came down to a missed three-pointer in the closing seconds — otherwise the Wolves would have had a loss to the Celtics for the ages, and not in a good way.
The Wolves have been bad at closing out games for longer than Towns has been emerging as a legit future NBA star, so really none of this was unheard of. And yet seeing Towns’ brilliance up close in person for the first time in a couple months was captivating and brought to mind this question: in this market right now, who is most likely among current top league professional players (i.e. players already on the Twins, Wolves, etc.) to win an MVP award sometime in the future. My list:
1) Maya Moore, Lynx: This one’s fairly obvious. She’s entering the prime of her career. She’s already been an MVP. She’s arguably the best women’s basketball player in the world. Moore racking up another MVP or two (or three) would surprise nobody.
But now it gets tougher, and it leads me here:
2) Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves: I think his ceiling is legitimately this high. Maybe that’s weird to say after less than a full season, but I can’t stop seeing Tim Duncan when I see Towns.
3) Miguel Sano, Twins: He’ll have to hit a ton to do it, since he doesn’t project as a great fielder at any position. But if he evolves into something close to Miguel Cabrera at the plate, Sano will be in the mix.
4) Byron Buxton, Twins: Same upside as Sano, with a less sterling MLB debut and a different skill set. If Buxton’s five tools blossom, look out.
5) Adrian Peterson, Vikings: Don’t count AP out. He’s already won the MVP once when we doubted him in 2012.
6) Devan Dubnyk, Wild: If Minnesota ever puts together a full season of dominance, I have to imagine Dubnyk will be the team’s MVP — and by extension, a league MVP candidate. Four goalies have won the award in the last 20 years so it’s not unheard of.
7) Andrew Wiggins, Wolves: If he becomes Carmelo — which wouldn’t be bad at all — he won’t win. If he becomes Kobe? Well, now we’re talking.
8) Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings: Same as Dubnyk. If the Vikings become dominant, the QB gets the glory.
9) Zach Parise, Wild: If not Dubnyk, then Parise.
10) Zach LaVine: The other Zach. If he becomes Russell Westbrook, look out.