Three Takes for Towns: Why some think the Wolves will draft Karl-Anthony Towns


The NBA Draft is exactly five weeks from this evening. We’re definitely going to be spending every single day until then reading national take upon national take regarding what the Wolves will do with the number-one overall draft pick — will they select Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor?

Here at Dunking With Wolves, we’ve covered the local media’s belief that Okafor is the player that Flip Saunders covets at the top of the draft. It’s tough to nail down exactly why, although Star Tribune scribe Jerry Zgoda has been banging on that drum for awhile now.

In his lunch chat yesterday, he continued to discuss the likelihood that Okafor will be Saunders’ choice. If you have some time to scroll through the replay of the chat, there is some pretty good stuff in there.

At any rate, there are plenty of mock drafts hitting the internet in the wake of Tuesday’s draft lottery, and while there are no shortage of options when it comes to mocks to site, there are only a select few that have legitimate, thought-out analysis. Here’s three that I’ve grabbed for various reasons, but largely because they all seem to be pretty decently sourced.

Sam Vecenie, NBA Writer

"Karl-Anthony Towns, PF, Kentucky: The Timberwolves are the lucky team that will get their pick of the top guys. I still believe that Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are 1A and 1B in this draft class. However, Towns is the pick for the Wolves, in my opinion. The two players are close enough that you can take the player who best fits your team, and for the Wolves I like the versatility of Towns. He’s physical enough to get a bucket in the paint, but also skilled enough to stretch the floor with his solid jump shot. That ability to stretch the floor is a big reason why he makes more sense for them, as Towns has the potential to keep the paint open for Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins, which will be essential to their offensive success. The Wolves are also in need of a rim protecting center, and Towns likely profiles a bit better in that regard than Okafor if he can fix his foul issues."

Vecenie uses versatility and roster fit as the tiebreaker between Towns and Okafor. That’s a fair point, although drafting number-one overall should never hinge on “fit”. At the same time, if that’s what it’s going to take to get Saunders to pick Towns, I’ll take it.

Jonathan Wasserman, NBA Lead Writer and Dan O’Brien

"…[The Wolves are] desperate for frontcourt versatility, and Karl-Anthony Towns is their clear-cut best fit. He’ll help fill the squad’s need for interior defense while expanding its offensive options.His stock climbed throughout the 2014-15 season because he emerged as Kentucky’s most dangerous player on both ends. The freshman phenom covers ground swiftly, plays with dexterous skill and shows the smarts and coordination to improve. That’s all anyone could want from a one-and-done frontcourt prospect.Not only did he prove to be the Wildcats’ go-to option in the paint, but he also showed glimpses of jump-shooting talent. He sank 43.1 percent of his two-point jumpers, per, and converted 81.3 percent of his free throws.Towns’ “inside-out” label also applies to the defensive end, because he’s effective both near and away from the bucket. His length and tenacity make him a superb shot eraser and rebounder, and he also corrals ball-handlers in pick-and-roll scenarios."

This is really, really good reasoning. Towns is a great fit on both ends of the floor — the true “two-way player” that Saunders so obviously and openly covets. On top of that, he knocks down free throws, is ultra-athletic, and very intelligent. Well done, Wasserman and O’Brien.

Steve Kyler,

"So now we know the order of the draft. Barring a blow-out workout or some kind of undisclosed injury, Karl-Anthony Towns likely becomes the top overall pick. There was a sense that Towns was likely the top pick prior to the lottery, but with Minnesota in control it’s almost a lock.Sources close to the process had pegged Towns as the Timberwolves’ top target for most of the season. The only variable is if Towns is somehow red flagged…"

Kyler’s take is very interesting, as he names sources that have pegged Towns as the Wolves’ pick — the opposite of what local friends Wolfson and Zgoda have apparently heard.

The Basketball Insiders crew also has three other opinions at the above link, two of which send Towns to the Wolves and one that has them picking Okafor. Check out the link as there is some pretty solid content over there.

At any rate, we’ll be checking in with any intriguing mock drafts and/or rumors in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, enjoy the Conference Finals series this week!

More from Dunking with Wolves