Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell continue to spearhead the list of first-round projections for the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft. ESPN, Draft Express and NBA Draft all named the talented prodigies as their top three selections, with Towns going to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Los Angeles Lakers picking Jahlil Okafor and the Philadelphia 76ers handing the keys to the backcourt to D’Angelo Russell.
Kentucky big man Towns continued to impress in predraft workouts with his display of traditional big man skills coupled with a surprising shooting touch. The 7-foot player showed dribbling ability coupled with pivot moves and crossovers that drew him comparisons to NBA MVP runner-up James Harden. To top it off, the Dominican-American basketball standout wowed the scouts during a recent closed door predraft workout by hitting three point baskets with relative ease.
Video of Karl-Anthony Towns shooting NBA threes. Ridiculously talented pic.twitter.com/J8JiKXwCxP
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 1, 2015
Don MacLean, UCLA’s all-time scoring leader, was at hand to witness Town’s display and was all praises for the big man. "I've been training guys for the draft for 11 years," MacLean told Chad Ford of ESPN, "and I've never seen anyone his size who can do the things that Karl can do. It's otherworldly."
With just three weeks remaining before the June 25 Draft Day, the Timberwolves are mum on whom they plan to select with their top pick. There have been conflicting reports about the team’s plan to trade point guard Ricky Rubio to nab Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. It is also known that team president and head coach Flip Saunders leans toward having a traditional big man, but with Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng on the roster, there is still no certainty that the franchise will still bring over Towns or Duke’s Okafor to anchor the middle.
The Lakers are still projected to select either Towns or Okafor if General Manager Mitch Kupchak decides to keep the pick. If Towns falls into the lap of the storied franchise, it will be able to parade an all-Kentucky frontcourt in the next couple of years with Julius Randle already in tow.
The rebuilding 76ers are expected to use their pick on a backcourt player given the number of frontcourt players it has already collected in the past two drafts. The team has been notable for shoring up multiple picks in an unprecedented move to build its roster entirely through the draft. Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid continue to form the initial building blocks of the team, and due to this, the 76ers are projected to use its third pick on either Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay, if both names are still available when the team’s turn comes.