Editor’s note: this post was written while the game was still going on
Last week, in an interview with the Athletic, Minnesota player Karl Anthony-Towns offered this up when asked about who he models his game after:
“Honestly man, I ain’t gotta play like nobody. I’m me. I’m the greatest big man shooter of all time. That’s a fact. You can see the stats. I ain’t got to play like no one else. Everyone trying to find themselves to be the second version of me when I’m the first version. I don’t got to be the second version of someone else. I’m already an original. I don’t have to be a duplicate of someone else.”
Those of us in Dallas, fan of the actual greatest shooting big man of all time in Dirk Nowitzki bristled at the notion, even if Towns was speaking about his three point shooting percentage comparatively. It was a bit of an unforced error in the middle of a larger interview about his partnership with Anthony Edwards. Alas, when talking we all say things that open us to some teasing.
Which made it all the funnier when on Tuesday night, Dirk Nowitzki had the chance to help Mark Followill and Jeff Wade call the game in Dallas. Here’s Dirk on the call when Towns sank a step back three:
Dirk Nowitzki on the broadcast, heard what Karl-Anthony Towns said about himself the other day: "There's the best shooting big man in the world!" pic.twitter.com/yZg26cfAJM— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) December 22, 2021
Dirk’s delivery paired with the booth’s laughing indicate none of the three of them actually believe what Nowitzki had to say there. But it’s all in good fun as basketball is supposed to be fun.
Later in the the Bally Sports Southwest broadcast, they displayed this graphic made by Katia Villalba through research done by Mark Followill
Towns currently shoots 39.7% from beyond the arc compared to Dirk’s 38.0%, so he’s right by 1.7 percentage points when talking threes. He also has Dirk beat on overall field goal percentage, as he’s connected on 52.6% of his shots from everywhere in his career, beating Dirk’s 47.1. He’s also a very good low post player compared to Dirk who did most of his damage in the midrange. Towns can certainly score from anywhere. Interestingly, he’s just shooting 4 times from three per game compared to Dirk’s 3.4 attempts. In an age with more shooting from three, this is a bit of an odd data point. Perhaps Towns should shoot even more from distance.