Karl-Anthony Towns' Hot Start Places His Name Among NBA Legends

We may only be three games into the season, but rookie Karl-Anthony Towns hasn't wasted any time kickstarting his young career.

Not everyone necessarily agreed on the Minnesota Timberwolves making Karl-Anthony Towns the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft last summer. Some argued Jahlil Okafor's old-school game was a safer bet; others said D'Angelo Russell had the higher ceiling.

But through three games this season, Towns is already proving his worth and then some.

After Monday night's game against Portland, Towns moved himself into elite company, joining the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dwight Howard, and Shawn Kemp as the only youngsters (age 23 and under) since 1985 to record at least 50 points, 30 rebounds, and 5 blocks while shooting at least 50 percent through the first three games of the season, according to Basketball Reference.

Season MP FG% Points Rebounds Blocks
Shaquille O'Neal  94-95
122 .577 104 41 6
Charles Barkley 86-87 131 .725 91 36 8
Hakeem Olajuwon 86-87 127 .517 83 45 14
Shaquille O'Neal 92-93 106 .551 69 46 10
Dwight Howard 09-10 103 .629 65 48 7
Dwight Howard 08-09 118 .632 65 43 13
Shawn Kemp 93-94 88 .579 53 31 6
Karl-Anthony Towns 15-16 92 .579 53 31 8

While impressive stuff from guys like Shaq (34.6 points per game in '94) and The Dream (4.6 blocks per game in '86) appear to conquer the list, Towns still finds a way to set himself a part. He's the only name among the group to accumulate such numbers in his first NBA season. 

That's not to say this early production leads to Towns going down as the greatest big man of all-time, but it does highlight that through just his first three games of professional basketball, the kid (he's only 19) is off to one hell of a start.

If you pull field goal percentage from the criteria, the list grows in number but still caps at 15 players and just 21 instances. Although Towns settles toward the bottom of the list in terms of minutes played and field goal attempts, no one can fault the guy for efficient play.

His Defensive Rating of 94 is good for 11th in the league amongst players having played at least 75 minutes this season and first amongst the rookie class, while his Offensive Rating of 107 ranks 23rd in the league overall and second only to Jerian Grant (111) amongst rookies.

Again, a dozen quarters of basketball isn't the tell-all barometer, but it's hard not to get excited, Wolves fan or otherwise. Towns already has so much to his game in a number of different areas, yet he's only scratched the surface of the stat-stuffing, do-it-all big man he can ultimately become. 

In the meantime, he probably doesn't mind finding his name among Hall of Famers who happened to start their careers in similar fashion. It seems to have worked out okay for them.