Karl-Anthony Towns Bests Joel Embiid in Battle of the Big Men of the Future

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Youtube.)

Thursday night's NBA slate featured a battle between two talented young teams at very different points on the rebuilding track.

Unsurprisingly, the team further along—the Minnesota Timberwolves—demolished the Philadelphia 76ers behind 35 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists from 21-year-old Andrew Wiggins.

Also featured: Two players thought to be the future of the NBA center position—Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid.

In the first of hopefully many battles between the rare big men who can post up, shoot from deep, pass, and block shots, Towns was a clear victor. He scored 25 points on 12-of-18 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks. And though the two weren't matched up against one another for much of their shared time on the floor, Towns faked Embiid out of his size eight billion shoes on his way to a massive dunk.

Of course, it's a lot easier to score when you've got teammates setting you up like this.

Thanks to a brief injury scare, Embiid only logged 22 minutes. But he was still very effective in his time, managing a double-double to go with a block.

In all fairness to Embiid, he's hardly fully formed as a basketball player. Though he's a year older than Towns at 22, his eight games played this season are his first bits of competitive basketball since his freshman year at Kansas ended early in 2014 with a back injury. In only 22.3 minutes per game, he's averaging 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. And he's going to the free-throw line at an elite rate—shooting 10.7 free throws per 36 minutes, and making 77.4 percent of them.

Taking into account Embiid's size—he's said to be 7'3" despite being listed at 7'—and a significant leg up in the rim protection department, Embiid still has a higher ceiling than Towns, and maybe anyone in the NBA. But there's no denying that right now KAT has the edge.

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