Karl-Anthony Towns Is One of the Biggest All-NBA Snubs of This Century

The numbers make it clear there's no excuse for leaving KAT off of this year's All-NBA squads.

Does landing on an All-NBA team matter? Paul George and Gordon Hayward sure think so.

Two of this year's most notorious All-NBA snubs felt it in their wallets. Since they were left off of the squads, George and Hayward missed out on a chance to re-sign with their respective teams on super-max deals (five years, $200 million contracts). Thanks to a few media members who have a place in their heart for Jimmy Butler and/or Draymond Green, George and Hayward wave goodbye to a potential $70 million and $50 million in future money.

For Karl-Anthony Towns, it wasn't a money thing. It was about respect.

Don't believe me? Take his word for it.

Devin Booker also tweeted in support of his former Kentucky teammate: "So we're gonna pretend KAT wasn't suppose to be on any All-NBA?" And Booker was least that's what the numbers tell us.

The Numbers

KAT was a flat-out beast this season, so bestial, in fact, that we can justifiably compare him to one of the most bestial centers ever to lace 'em up.

Player Season Age PPG RPG
Shaquille O'Neal 1993-94 21 29.3 13.2
Karl-Anthony Towns 2016-17 21 25.1 12.3

Towns had a season similar to that of 21-year-old Shaquille O'Neal, and the media throng couldn't bring itself to pick him as one of the Association's top 15 players? Man up, people.

Yet more numbers: According to Basketball Reference, Towns is the only player ever to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 three-pointers in a single season. Third team All-NBA center DeAndre Jordan hit exactly zero treys, and since we're counting, Jordan only managed to sink 205 free throws.

The Analytics

It's not like Towns spent 2016-17 behind the arc, hurling up bombs all willy-nilly. On a total of 275 attempts (up from 88 in his first season) Towns shot 36.7% from distance, better than Lou Williams (36.5%), Devin Booker (36.3%) and LeBron James (36.3%). That's also the same percentage as All-NBA performer Jimmy Butler.

Analytically speaking, Towns finished 2016-17 ranked 18th in offensive rating (120.6), 17th in box plus-minus (5.0), 16th in win shares per 40 minutes (.201), 11th in player efficiency rating (26.0), 9th in value over replacement player (5.4), and 7th in win shares (12.7).

To summarize these six measures of production and efficiency, we turn to nERD, our in-house player ranking that accounts for a player total contributions for a season, based on efficiency. At the rate Towns put up numbers while maintaining top-20 caliber efficiency, he was rewarded with a nERD of 14.5, which ranked him ninth of all players and second among NBA centers, behind Rudy Gobert's 17.8.

By those metrics alone, Towns is deserving over third-teamer Jordan (13.2) and even first-teamer Anthony Davis (12.4). But wait, there's more.

Since we started tracking nERD in 1999-2000, only two other players have failed to make an All-NBA team when earning a nERD of 14.5 or better, those being Chauncey Billups (2007-08, 17.0 nERD) and Kevin Garnett (2005-06, 18.0 nERD). To put that in perspective, 81 of 83 players (97.6%) have made All-NBA with a nERD equal to or better than Towns' since the 1999-2000 season.

This is why we can and should agree with KAT when he implies that we're sleeping on him: