The Minnesota Timberwolves knew what every Kentucky fan knew throughout last year's 38-1 campaign and that's Karl-Anthony Towns was the clear-cut choice to be the No. 1 selection in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Not only is Towns in line to be the third unanimous winner of the NBA's Rookie of the Year award since the 2010-11 season, he's leaving a historic impact on his rookie season. Towns is averaging 18.2 points on 54 percent shooting and 10.5 rebounds per game with the Timberwolves.
You've probably have heard of him.
For those that haven't, O'Neal was the modern-day version of Wilt Chamberlain (in terms of his dominant play) and won four NBA titles before being selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame just four days ago.
And yeah, in his days as the centerpiece of the Orlando Magic throughout the mid-1990's, O'Neal made plays like this consistently:
The difference between O'Neal and Towns however is, well ... there's a lot that differ. O'Neal could run up and down the floor with ease as a superstar out of LSU in his Magic days, but Towns appears to be a different beast.
When did you ever see Shaq do this?
And no disrespect to O'Neal, but did he ever look this smooth in his early days?
Towns is just a different beast; a beast that's becoming the outlier in today's NBA. With such an emphasis on spacing, three-point shooting and players being able to produce on both ends nightly.
And the fact that Towns is a seven-foot behemoth that can do whatever you need is just downright frightening.
There's a quote from a conversation between SB Nation's Tom Ziller and Paul Flannery this past November that has stuck with me throughout this season. Ziller and Flannery were talking about two other Kentucky bigs that are quite good early in their careers, too.
Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins? Those names ring a bell, right?
As humorous as Ziller's thought was, he wasn't far off.
Towns hasn't missed a game this year (79 of 79 so far) and not only do his per-game numbers look good, his advanced numbers are a sight to behold.
His player efficiency rating (PER, 13th), true shooting percentage (TS%, 18th) and effective field goal percentage (eFG%, 14th) all rank inside the top 20 players in each category. Towns also grabs 19 percent of the total rebounds when he's on the floor, which is good for 14th in the entire NBA.
To borrow a nugget from a recent post by Cameron Stewart at FanSided's HoopsHabit, the four players to match Towns' per-game numbers as rookie -- Ralph Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaq and David Robinson -- only one three-pointer was made between those four Hall of Famers in their rookie seasons.
Towns has made 28 of his 80 attempts from behind the arc (35 percent, as of Apr. 8).
In case you've forgot at this point, he just turned 20 years old this past November. He can't legally buy a beer until roughly the 10th game of Minnesota's season later this calendar year.