Minnesota Timberwolves’ big man Karl-Anthony Towns, who set franchise rookie records in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, and field goal percentage, has unanimously won the 2015-16 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, the NBA announced today.
The versatile 7-foot center becomes the fifth unanimous winner since 1984, and joins teammate Andrew Wiggins, the 2014-15 honoree, to make the Timberwolves the first team with back-to-back winners in 42 years.
"It’s an honor to be named Rookie of the Year by the media," Towns said. "I owe a lot to our coaches and my teammates for their support throughout the year. I intend to work hard on my craft to improve my game for next season and help our team challenge for a playoff spot."
Towns received all 130 first-place votes (650 points) from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada, joining Damian Lillard (2012-13 season), Blake Griffin (2010-11), David Robinson (1989-90), and Ralph Sampson (1983-84) as unanimous winners in the last 32 years.
The New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis finished second with 363 points, and the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic was third with 59 points.
Phoenix's Devin Booker was fourth with 49 points, and the Sixers' Jahlil Okafor was fifth with 34 points. Miami's Justice Winslow, Denver's Emmanuel Mudiay, and Indiana's Myles Turner finished sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.
Despite receiving significant playing time throughout the season, Lakers' rookie guard D'Angelo Russell, who proclaimed himself to be the best player in the 2015 NBA Draft, garnered only one third-place vote for a total of one point.
Towns, the No. 1 overall pick in NBA Draft 2015, led all rookies in scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg, eighth in the NBA) and ranked second in blocks (1.68 bpg, 10th in the NBA) – making him the league’s only player to reach those averages in the three categories. He also sank a game-winning jumper with :01.8 to play April 9 at Portland.
Towns, 20, ranked third in the NBA in double-doubles (51) and eighth in field goal percentage (54.2). He was one of six players in the league to start all 82 games.
Towns swept all six NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards on his way to becoming the seventh rookie in NBA history to average at least 18 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks and shoot 50 percent or better from the field. Since blocks became an official statistic in 1973-74, the other players to post those numbers are Sampson (1983-84), Hakeem Olajuwon (1984-85), Robinson (1989-90), Alonzo Mourning (1992-93), Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93) and Tim Duncan (1997-98).
With Towns and Wiggins now honored in back-to-back years, the Timberwolves are the first team with consecutive winners since the Buffalo Braves in 1972-73 (Bob McAdoo) and 1973-74 (Ernie DiGregorio).
NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
1952-53 - Don Meineke, Fort Wayne
1953-54 - Ray Felix, Baltimore
1954-55 - Bob Pettit, Milwaukee
1955-56 - Maurice Stokes, Rochester
1956-57 - Tom Heinsohn, Boston
1957-58 - Woody Sauldsberry, Philadelphia
1958-59 - Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis
1959-60 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1960-61 - Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati
1961-62 - Walt Bellamy, Chicago
1962-63 - Terry Dischinger, Chicago
1963-64 - Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati
1964-65 - Willis Reed, New York
1965-66 - Rick Barry, San Francisco
1966-67 - Dave Bing, Detroit
1967-68 - Earl Monroe, Baltimore
1968-69 - Wes Unseld, Baltimore
1969-70 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1970-71 - Dave Cowens, Boston (tie)
- Geoff Petrie, Portland (tie)
1971-72 - Sidney Wicks, Portland
1972-73 - Bob McAdoo, Buffalo
1973-74 - Ernie DiGregorio, Buffalo
1974-75 - Keith Wilkes, Golden State
1975-76 - Alvan Adams, Phoenix
1976-77 - Adrian Dantley, Buffalo
1977-78 - Walter Davis, Phoenix
1978-79 - Phil Ford, Kansas City
1979-80 - Larry Bird, Boston
1980-81 - Darrell Griffith, Utah
1981-82 - Buck Williams, New Jersey
1982-83 - Terry Cummings, San Diego
1983-84 - Ralph Sampson, Houston
1984-85 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1985-86 - Patrick Ewing, New York
1986-87 - Chuck Person, Indiana
1987-88 - Mark Jackson, New York
1988-89 - Mitch Richmond, Golden State
1989-90 - David Robinson, San Antonio
1990-91 - Derrick Coleman, New Jersey
1991-92 - Larry Johnson, Charlotte
1992-93 - Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando
1993-94 - Chris Webber, Golden State
1994-95 - Grant Hill, Detroit (tie)
- Jason Kidd, Dallas (tie)
1995-96 - Damon Stoudamire, Toronto
1996-97 - Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
1997-98 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio
1998-99 - Vince Carter, Toronto
1999-00 - Elton Brand, Chicago (tie)
- Steve Francis, Houston (tie)
2000-01 - Mike Miller, Orlando
2001-02 - Pau Gasol, Memphis
2002-03 - Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix
2003-04 - LeBron James, Cleveland
2004-05 - Emeka Okafor, Charlotte
2005-06 - Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City
2006-07 - Brandon Roy, Portland
2007-08 - Kevin Durant, Seattle
2008-09 - Derrick Rose, Chicago
2009-10 - Tyreke Evans, Sacramento
2010-11 - Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
2011-12 - Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
2012-13 - Damian Lillard, Portland
2013-14 - Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia
2014-15 - Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota
2015-16 - Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services