“I’m the greatest big man shooter of all time. That’s a fact. You can see the stats.” I guess Anthony Edwards has successfully started to spread his mojo in Minnesota - that’s the best explanation I’ve got for Karl-Anthony Townscalling himself the greatest big man shooter of all time. The moment he said it, we all had an image of a german guy draining a shot, and now the german guy has responded.
“He's got a long way to go”
To give some context to the “facts” KAT mentioned in his answer. Here’s the list for most 3-PT FGM by players 6’11’ or taller in NBA history.
- Dirk Nowitzki - 1982
- Channing Frye - 1049
- Charlie Villanueva - 716
- Kelly Olynyk - 708
- Karl-Anthony Towns - 698
Not there yet, even by the numbers, although KAT will finish this season as no.3 and probably finish his career at no.1. This is mostly a product of the modern NBA, where players have the ultimate green light to let it fly from behind the arc. That being said, there’s no doubt Towns is an extremely versatile offensive player, and one of the primary reasons for it is the fact he has an excellent outside shot.
So when Dirk Nowitzki joined the broadcast of the Timberwolves vs. Mavericks game, everyone was interested to hear his take on KAT’s proclamation.
“He's got the confidence and swag. Not sure if he's the greatest already, he's got a long way to go. If he keeps playing like this, he's gonna be up there before his career is over.”
Dirk Nowitzki, Wolves - Mavs broadcast
As always, Dirk Diggler was measured in his response. He may not be, but I am - Karl-Anthony Towns is definitely not the greatest shooting big man of all time. He may be on pace to break Dirk’s 1982 made three-pointers, but even if he does, that won’t be enough. There’s a difference between draining a few threes in a loss to Dallas in December and making crucial ones against the Miami Heat in the ’11 Finals.
The fact a lot of young players have totally lost perspective about what really matters - winning in the playoffs - and are solely focused on numbers (which they don’t interpret in the right context) shows the need for veteran leadership in the locker room. You think KAT would say this if Kevin Garnett was still his teammate? I don’t either.
While on the broadcast, Dirk shared a few other nuggets from his playing days. The first time he saw Boban Marjanović “was in San Antonio and I was like “Who’s that? Who’s that guy walking in?” I remember just a large, large man walking in and I had to actually guard him.” Nowitzki said it was a very long few minutes on the court.
At one point, the conversation touched on Dirk’s defense. With his trademark sense of humor, Nowitzki talked about his defensive limitations encapsulated by his personal motto.
“At that point, wherever they could hide me... It’s always, ‘Hide me on D, find me on O,’ that was my motto for 21 years. “
The great ones usually don’t have a problem with making a joke at their own expense. Dirk knew defense wins championships, and that wasn’t his forte. But Nowitzki still gave full effort, and more importantly, embraced that meant he had to lead on offense and take all the tough shots. KAT could use some of that mentality.
P.S. My first reaction when seeing the Top 5 list was how absurd it is we are still all pretending Kevin Durant is 6’9’’/6’10”. As KD famously explained: “When I’m talking to women, I’m 7 feet. In basketball circles, I’m 6’9”