New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis Faces-Off Against Fellow ROY Candidate Karl-Anthony Towns

Tonight’s matchup is highlighted by New York Knicks’ rookie Kristaps Porzingis facing off against Twolves’ rookie Karl-Anthony Towns.

New York Knicks (23-33)
Minnesota Timberwolves (17-38)
Tonight, 8:00 PM on MSG
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The NBA season is three months old, and superstar rookies Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks and Karl Anthony-Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves have been named Rookies of the Month in their respective conferences each time.

Both players appear to be on a path to greatness, with tonight being yet another preview of many battles yet to come.

Both players are vital to their teams’ success — however little it might be — and are in remarkably similar situations, although it didn’t start out that way. Towns was the first overall pick who entered the league with all of the hype, and the weight of the world on his shoulders. Porzingis was supposed to be a two-year project that wasn’t ready yet.

Cut to eight months later and Porzingis is one of the league’s most popular players, lighting up All-Star weekend in Toronto. The unique skill set of the seven-footer has shocked the media and fans alike, as he seemingly has a new highlight in every game. As good as Porzingis has been though, Towns has been even better.

Towns’ offensive game is incredible for a rookie, as he can score in so many ways. The big man from Kentucky is averaging 17.0 points, 1.5 assists, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks on a slash line of .538/.365/.854. Towns leads rookies in PER (22.9) and WS (5.5). If he played for the Los Angeles Lakers — like he reportedly wanted to — it’d be Towns’ highlights that we would be talking about every day.

Towns has watched Porzingis get all the attention this season, so this game means a lot to him. It should mean a lot to Porzingis to as it’s a chance for whatever doubters may remain to show that he is on Towns’ level.

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I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.