Well we have finally arrived at the end of our list of the top pro athletes in Minnesota. All five of these athletes are extremely talented at what they do, and are arguably either the best player, or one of the best players, at their respective position. So without further ado, here are the top five professional athletes in Minnesota.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns | Timberwolves | C | @KarlTowns
Before the start of every season, NBA GMs are polled to see which player they would most like to build a franchise around, and in each of the last 2 seasons Karl-Anthony Towns received the most votes. Towns has been everything the T-Wolves could have asked for when they selected him first overall in the 2015 NBA draft. In his first two and a half seasons, Towns has averaged 21.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, and shoots a respectable 37.5% from three. By comparison Tim Duncan averaged 22/12/2.8 over the first 3 seasons of his career. Last season Towns became the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds and make 100 3-pointers in a season. The future is defiantly bright for this 22-year-old, and fortunately for Timberwolves fans, the future might be now.
4. Xavier Rhodes | Vikings | CB | @XavierRhodes29_
Xavier Rhodes has earned his nickname “Rhodes Closed” from the moment he entered the NFL, having served the role as the Vikings lock-down corner since his rookie year. Over the past two seasons, there hasn’t been another corner in the NFL that is better at shutting down elite receivers than Rhodes. During the 2016 season Rhodes held opposing QBs to an NFL low 39.2 passer rating when they threw the ball in his direction. This has really helped drive Mike Zimmer’s defense, as Rhodes essentially takes away a third of the field on every play.
3. Maya Moore | Lynx | G/F | @MooreMaya
No list involving the best Minnesota athletes can be complete without including Maya Moore. Maya is arguably the best women’s basketball player in the world, and has been the best player on the Minnesota Lynx throughout their dynasty run of four championships in seven years. In her career, Maya has averaged 18.4 points, 6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Moore also took home the WNBA MVP award in 2014, and Finals MVP in 2013.
2. Jimmy Butler | Timberwolves | G/F | @JimmyButler
When the Timberwolves traded for Jimmy Butler this summer it felt like 13 years’ worth of misery had finally come to an end. The trade was essentially the reverse of the Kevin Garnett trade, that the Timberwolves made during the 2007 NBA draft sending him to Boston. Now, half way through Butler’s first season with the Wolves, Jimmy Buckets has been everything we could have hoped for and more. Jimmy has taken control as the leader of this young Wolves team, and sometimes even single-handedly leading the Wolves to victory. His defensive presence has really helped the Wolves as well, who have jumped up to a more respectable 16th in defensive efficiency rating this season, after finishing 26th or worse in each of the past 3 seasons.
1. Harrison Smith | Vikings | FS | @HarriSmith22
Football fans say it with me, Harrison Smith is the best safety in the NFL. Here is the best way that I can think of to describe Harrison, he is a hard hitting in your face type of safety, who just happens to also be the best cover safety in the league. His greatness has been obvious to Vikings fans since his rookie season, but now Harry the Hitman is finally getting the recognition on the national level that he deserves. Not only did Smith take home 1st Team All-Pro honors this year, but Pro Football Focus gave him the highest rating of any player in the NFL this season at 98.8. The next highest safety scored out at a 90.1. In fact, Smith’s 2017 was the best season by a safety Pro Football Focus has graded in their 12 seasons in existence, the next highest being Eric Weddle’s 94.7, in 2012. It is all of this that makes Harrison Smith the best professional athlete in Minnesota sports.