The players from the 2015 NBA Draft are surprising fans and card collectors as not only are there more with superstar potential than expected but they are producing at a high level already. Kristaps Porzingis, Devin Booker, Jahlil Okafor and Myles Turner are just some of the rookies making an impact but Karl-Anthony Towns rookie cards may wind up as the best of this year’s class. While D’Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay and Porzingis received a lot of attention over the first several weeks of the season, Towns has become a consistent force in the middle for the the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Like Tim Duncan, Towns is a center with all the fundamental skills. At the All-Star break of his first season, he led all rookies in rebounding– the only first-year player with at least 10 per game. He was tied with Porzingis in blocks and tied with Okafor as the top scoring rookies. He’s been better than some established stars in shooting percentage and not just around the rim. He’s got a deft touch from beyond the arc and is a very good free throw shooter.
It’s been 20 years since a rookie has finished with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) over 23 but Towns is on pace to do it. Seven of the eight who’ve done it are in the Hall of Fame: Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Walt Bellamy, Michael Jordan and David Robinson.
The confidence in Towns might be best expressed with a recent NBA Auction where $8,908.89 was paid for one of the two jerseys he wore against the Lakers on Opening Night.
Karl Anthony Towns Rookie Card Review
Towns’ first NBA cards were in the 2015-16 Hoops issue. His first autograph was in the Hot Signatures insert (#HS-KAT). Towns also appears in the Kobe’s All-Rookie Team insert set.
While very early into his career, when the big card releases have yet to appear like Flawless and National Treasures, several Towns cards have sold for over $1,000. As of this writing, Towns’ top sellers have been a Totally Certified Holo Blue 1/1 Jumbo Patch that sold for $1299, a Totally Certified Rookie Auto Gold that also soared well past $1,000 and a couple of Prizm Gold (non-auto) which sold pushed into the $1,000 area. Panini Contenders autos showing him in his college uniform are among the other early higher end cards on the market.
Other sets with lower-priced Towns rookies include Complete, Prestige and Prizm. The 2015-16 Prizm release has an extensive parallel card set to collect, and if someone was able to find the 1 of 1 Black card they could assemble fifteen versions of the same Towns card Totally Certified is also filled with Towns parallels to collect. 2015-16 Panini Court Kings features Towns cards with artistic designs.
Fear the Towns?
A player that collectors can use as a guide to possible prices for Towns cards is Anthony Davis, another Kentucky center who went at the top of a draft. Towns is statistically having a much better rookie season than The Brow did for New Orleans a few years back. Many Davis rookie year cards go for over $2,000 so Towns cards in premium products, as well as other low-numbered cards, will likely reach lofty figures. The card that many will consider to be the must-have Towns rookie card is the National Treasures RPA, Rookie Patch Autographs. The numbered base cards and parallels in NT will be ones to watch.
Minnesota has been a magnet for young stars, going back to Kevin Garnett, who has come full circle with the Timberwolves. Playing alongside last year’s top pick, Andrew Wiggins along with slam dunk champ Zach LaVine and flashy Ricky Rubio will keep the national spotlight on the small market T-Wolves.
Towns played in the All-Star Weekend Rising Stars event and was the unexpected winner of the Skills Challenge. He has entered the NBA, after only one year of college, with all the skills and also a mindset to put in maximum effort.
He’s only 20 so for the next decade—or maybe two—it’s a good bet we’re going to hear a lot more about Karl-Anthony Towns rookie cards, especially if the T-Wolves can build a perennial contender. Based on the growing interest, it appears KAT is definitely out of the bag.