(USA Today) – As we get closer to the NBA draft, the top picks are seemingly starting to come into focus.
The Minnesota Timberwolves seem locked in on Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns at the top spot. While Wolves’ coach, president of basketball operations, and part-owner Flip Saunders has long been a fan of Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Saunders has warmed up to Towns over the past month, and the Wolves had Towns in for a private workout and interview this past week, something Towns has yet to do with the Los Angeles Lakers, who pick second.
The Lakers did bring in Duke center Jahlil Okafor, point guards Emmanuel Mudiay andD’Angelo Russell, and Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis, who they saw at a group workout in Las Vegas as well as a private workout in Los Angeles. While Russell has long been rumored to be a possibility for the Lakers , most around the league now feel that Okafor is the heavy favorite to go at No. 2.
The real uncertainty in the draft likely starts with the third pick. While Russell, the Ohio State guard, is projected to go to the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3 since the results of May 19th’s lottery were announced, Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie is reportedly a big fan of Porzingis as well, and has shown to have a mindset to target the best player available rather than to fill the team’s biggest need.