Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns grew up about 30 miles away from New York City in Metuchen, N.J. Due to the geographical proximity to Madison Square Garden, Towns rooted for the New York Knicks growing up.
Now, he says it would be a dream come true to play for his childhood team.
“It would be an honor, not only as a player, but as a Knicks fan, to be able to play for that organization,” Towns said in an interview with the New York Post. “It’s gonna be, I guess a childhood dream -- rooting for the Knicks all this time, and the next thing you know, you hear an organization call your name to go out there and give it your best shot. I think it would very cool, and really very honored and blessed to be able to play for them.”
In a separate interview with ESPN New York's Ian Begley, Towns made it clear that he was a fan of Phil Jackson's triangle offense, which has drawn criticism in some corners following the Knicks' 17-win season.
"It’s a system that works. If you don’t believe it then say it to Phil Jackson’s rings," Towns told ESPN New York on Tuesday afternoon while signing autographs at Lids in Manhattan.
Towns was asked if he thinks he'd fit well in the triangle offense.
"With time comes experience and with experience comes even better opportunities," he said. "I just feel like anyone going into the offense, it takes time. It’s a very complicated offense and you also have to be able to make stuff happen out of it. It just takes time. It would be an honor and blessing to play in that offense and I’d try my best at it."
Towns and Carmelo Anthony are both represented by CAA agent Leon Rose. Towns said he hasn't spoken to Anthony yet but he was effusive in his praise of the Knicks' star. He also talked about the challenges of playing alongside such a talented scorer.
"It's hard to play with a person who looks on the court like he's playing a video game. When you’re playing with "Mr. Video Game" it’s gonna be a little hard," Towns said, praising Anthony's ability to score. "But you know what? I'm just going to do what I can to be the best version of myself for this team if I was to be honored to play for them. I’d try my best to give the team the best chance of winning and I think that’s one of the things I try to do all the time. Especially at Kentucky, you learn how to give up yourself for the greater goal of the team. I cant wait to do that at the next level."
The Knicks finished with the second-worst record in the NBA and have a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. Minnesota has a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick -- the best odds of any team in the lottery.
If the Knicks land the top pick, they are likely to select Towns, according to ESPN Insider Chad Ford.
Team president Phil Jackson has said that he wants to find a big man who can defend the paint and the rim. Towns projects to fit that profile. Scouts see Towns as the superior defender when compared to Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, the other top big man in the draft.
The Knicks will find out where they pick on Tuesday night when the NBA holds its annual Draft Lottery.
Information from ESPN New York's Ian Begley was used in this report