Porterhouse steak or lobster? Porsche or Ferrari? Karl-Anthony Towns or Kristaps Porzingis? Sometimes, you just can’t lose no matter which way you choose.
“I wouldn’t mind taking whoever’s left,” one scout said of the choice between two of the NBA’s premier young big men.
A small, informal sampling of NBA scouts and executives seemed to arrive at one conclusion: You can’t lose with either the Timberwolves’ Towns or the Knicks’ Porzingis, either now or three years from now.
“They’re both great players. They’re both going to be All-Stars. They’re both on track to have Hall of Fame careers. One guy had 47 [points], the other guy had what, ?” said one opposing team executive. “If you polled all the other teams, all of them would take either player in a New York minute. They wouldn’t say, ‘I’ll take Towns over Porzingis.’ They’d say, ‘If I could get either one of those two guys I’d take him.’ ”
Towns and Porzingis face off Friday at the Garden after the Knicks’ 106-104 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday.
Both are just 21. The 7-foot Towns, the unanimous Rookie of the Year winner last season, is averaging 22.4 points (after his 47-point detonation against the Knicks) and 10 rebounds. He is shooting 50 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent on 3s. The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 21.4 points and 7.2 rebounds. He is shooting 49.1 percent overall and 40.8 on 3s.
But, an opposing talent evaluator said, throw out the numbers. Their character also makes them special.
“They respect each other. They both have old-school values,” the talent guy said. “It’s kind of refreshing to see young players respect the game that much and play the game unconditionally. All these young guys that come into the league, we talk about upside. Well, these guys are there.
“The best thing about both their games is they have an understanding of how to play, who they are. There’s no whistles and bells. It’s just two good, fundamentally sound, solid basketball players.”
But if you had to pick one, the split was even among those polled. One chose Towns because “he is the better defender.” Another said Porzingis “only because he’s a little bigger, a little more versatile.”
“I fully believe they are special players,” one Western Conference scout said. “They both stretch the floor, they both have 3-point range. Towns or Porzingis? Boy, that would be a great problem to have.”But repeatedly it was more like “You take one, I’ll gladly the other.” Again, steak or lobster …
The two have met three times in their embryonic careers, and while Towns clearly has the better numbers, Porzingis has the edge where it matters — the Knicks won all three meetings. That is despite Towns scoring 96 points (32.0 per game), grabbing 37 rebounds (12.3), blocking six shots (2.0) and shooting 53.7 percent (36-of-67) overall and 25 percent (2-of-8) on 3s.
Porzingis’ numbers in those games: 46 points (15.3), 16 rebounds (5.3), 10 blocks (3.33), 42.5 percent shooting (17-of-40) and 30.8 percent (4-of-13) on 3s.
“To say one will be better than the other, those arguments to me are pointless. They’re both good players. They’re both going to be All-Stars. Both tracking toward Hall of Fame careers. I guess whoever ends up playing in the more important games becomes the better player,” the opposing exec said. “They are going to be compared to each other their whole careers. And all the other teams, if you picked either one of them, would build with the other.”