The consensus continues to be that the Minnesota Timberwolves will either select Duke’s Jahlil Okafor or Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns with the number one overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25. Although Towns is considered by many to be the better player of the two long-term, Okafor continues to receive serious consideration for the top pick over the former Wildcat.
Minnesota head coach and team president, Flip Saunders, has been rumored to favor Okafor over Towns for quite some time. Saunders recently spoke to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated about the team’s intentions heading into the draft.
Saunders made an interesting comment when asked about whether the Timberwolves would be drafting for position or simply taking the best player in the draft:
Saunders: “If you look at the history of the draft and if you look at people who draft strictly by position, that’s where mistakes have been made. They have foregone the superstar player who could maybe change your team because you maybe had a very good player there. We feel if we can get a player who we feel in 2-3 years could be the top player at his position, we definitely will lean more towards that type of player.”
Although Towns has gotten a lot of credit for perhaps being the better all-around prospect with potential to be elite down the road, Okafor is considered to be the player most NBA-ready. Okafor may be able to help the team that drafts him immediately opposed to needing a bit of polish like Towns may require.
With that being said, Saunders’ comments may be telling. Saunders may be eluding to drafting Okafor when saying if they can get a player that in “2-3 years” might be the best at his position. Towns is incredibly talented and has many sold on the prospect of him being the best player in the draft, but Minnesota may surprise a lot of people by taking Okafor over the Kentucky star.[divide]