It's become a frequent lament around the league that suspense is hard to find in this season's individual award races.
And this, frankly, is pretty much the last place you'll find it.
New York's Kristaps Porzingis continues to be a bright spot and steady source of memorable tip dunks amid another winter of discontent in Gotham. Philly's Jahlil Okafor, meanwhile, has steadied himself to the point he's emerged as the league's third-most prolific scorer in terms of points in the paint since Jan. 1, behind only DeMarcus Cousins and Brook Lopez.
Yet it continues to be Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns who rules the rookies, looking no less of a threat to win the real-life ROY trophy unanimously than Steph Curry to win the MVP race.
On top of Towns' across-the-board excellence -- 17.3 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 1.8 BPG while posting .534/.357/.844 shooting splits -- now we're seeing increasing consistency from the 20-year-old. He's been held under 10 points in just three games this trimester; it happened six times in the season's opening third.
Towns is also up to six games this season with at least 25 points and 10 rebounds, while all other rookies have combined for just four (Okafor with two and Porzingis and Denver's Nikola Jokic with just one each).
He showed us his wide range of talents on that really fun All-Star Saturday night in Toronto, when he outdueled lil' Isaiah Thomas to win the league's annual Skills Challenge. Amid much less fanfare, Towns likewise strung together a recent run of 10 straight double-doubles, which is a streak only Andre Drummond (12) and Cousins (11) have managed to top since the calendar flipped to 2016.
You could make a decent argument that Okafor has edged past Porzingis into second place in the ROY chase, given that he's leading rookies in points per 36 minutes since the new year (22.7) while raising his field goal percentage from 45 percent in Trimester 1 to 58 percent in Trimester 2.
But the field, as you've surely deduced by now, is fighting for runner-up status. Towns' first pro season has been positively Duncan-esque and, almost on its own, gives the franchise sporting the league's longest playoff drought (up to 12 seasons and counting) much-needed hope for better days.
Sooner rather than later.