StaTuesday: Among big men, Towns is the truest of shooters

Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t taking as many shots as some would like — he’s averaging a career-low 13.6 field-goal attempts per game — but the Minnesota Timberwolves big man is making the best of it.

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Towns currently has a .647 true shooting percentage (TS% takes into account 2-point and 3-point field goals, as well as free throws), putting him on pace to finish well above the .618 mark he posted last season.

He’s one of just four 7-foot players since the 1946-47 season to finish above the .600 mark while shooting from deep while attempting at least 100 3s, joining Boston Celtics big Kelly Olynyk, Portland’s Arvydas Sabonis (who did it as a 31-year-old “rookie”) and Dallas Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki.

Interestingly, the other three players were all born outside the United States: Olynyk was born and raised in Canada while Sabonis is a Lithuanian who helped his home country win bronze medals in the Olympics twice as well as a gold in 1988 for the Soviet Union.

The iconic Nowitzki is German, and his one-legged fadeaway’s impact on the game are readily apparent in the following chart. Nowitzki accounts for 15 of the NBA’s top 20 true shooting seasons by 7-footers all time.

PLAYER SEASON 3PA 2FG% 3FG% FT% TS%
Karl-Anthony Towns 2017-18 211 .590 .422 .850 .647
Karl-Anthony Towns 2016-17 275 .542 .367 .832 .618
Arvydas Sabonis 1995-96 104 .574 .375 .757 .617
Dirk Nowitzki 2010-11 168 .538 .393 .892 .612
Dirk Nowitzki 2006-07 173 .515 .416 .904 .605
Dirk Nowitzki 2013-14 329 .532 .398 .899 .603
Kelly Olynyk 2016-17 192 .608 .354 .732 .603
Kelly Olynyk 2017-18 185 .588 .368 .754 .603
Dirk Nowitzki 2000-01 390 .513 .387 .838 .601

At just 22, Towns has plenty of time left to give that list a dramatic rewrite.

KAT currently ranks fourth in the league in TS% under similar conditions, behind only Cleveland’s Kyle Korver, Reggie Bullock and Anthony Tolliver of Detroit and master sharpshooter Steph Curry of Golden State. Olynyk is the next 7-footer to enter the list, all the way down at No. 19.

Here’s the top 10 in TS% for those also qualifying for 3-point percentage leaders entering Tuesday’s games:

PLAYER 3PA 2FG% 3FG% FT% TS%
Stephen Curry 421 .601 .416 .915 .672
Kyle Korver 294 .556 .432 .887 .650
Karl-Anthony Towns 211 .590 .422 .850 .647
Anthony Tolliver 233 .590 .412 .798 .645
Reggie Bullock 159 .580 .453 .733 .643
Kevin Durant 290 .570 .421 .882 .641
Joe Ingles 313 .506 .457 .829 .636
Darius Miller 252 .538 .425 .872 .635
Marvin Williams 190 .523 .432 .588 .623
James Harden 512 .518 .381 .866 .621

Statistics courtesy of basketball-reference.com and NBA.com