With the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves did the expected and selected center Karl-Anthony Towns out of Kentucky.
For weeks, it was rumored that the Timberwolves were leaning toward Towns since they liked his two-way abilities and the fact that he could fit in their up-tempo system.
Flip Saunders, the team’s head coach and director of basketball operations, liked center Jahlil Okafor out of Duke quite a bit too, but it was decided that the 19-year-old Towns was a better fit for the roster.
In his lone collegiate season at Kentucky, the 6’11 Towns averaged 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 21.1 minutes. While his numbers don’t jump off of the page, he showed glimpses of brilliance throughout his stint with the Wildcats and it’s his long-term potential that made teams fall in love. Towns has the physical tools, athleticism and skill-set to be a star in the NBA.
The Timberwolves have assembled one of the scariest young cores in the NBA with Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett and Adreian Payne all 24 years old or younger. The team is obviously still developing and rebuilding, but this could be a very good team in several years once all of these young players reach their full potential.
The team also has Kevin Garnett, who serves as the Wolves’ veteran leader. Garnett isn’t under contract for next season, but all signs point to him re-signing with the Timberwolves for one more year or staying with the organization in some capacity if he decides to retire. Garnett would be a great mentor for Towns, helping him as he transitions to the NBA and develops his game.
Towns and Okafor will surely be compared to one another for years to come since they play the same position and were drafted back-to-back. They are very different players, but both seemingly have star potential. It’ll be interesting to see how both players develop on their respective teams.
Last season, Minnesota finished with the worst record in the NBA at 16-66, which gave them the best odds at winning the top overall pick. While they currently find themselves in the NBA’s cellar, their young core is very promising and should allow them to right the ship rather quickly.
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