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SB Nation mock draft: The Minnesota Timberwolves select Karl-Anthony Towns

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, SB Nation does a network-wide NBA mock draft, with each team's respective blog making the picks. This year, we decided to get in on the action. Now, since we don't have a team of our own (yet), we decided to do analysis for every pick.

Let's get started.

With the first pick in the 2015 SB Nation fake-mock-no suit-draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Karl-Anthony Towns from the University of Kentucky.

From Canis Hoopus: This was not a choice that kept the "braintrust" (me) up nights. Karl-Anthony Towns represents everything we want in a top draft pick: a demonstrated diversity of skills on both sides of the ball, physical gifts, intelligence, and potential to be a long term part of the core of our team. All that, and he fills a glaring need in the front court for a team that had the worst defense and worst rim protection in the league last season. We don't expect Towns to come in and be a star right away--rookies, and especially rookie bigs--rarely are. But we think he's going to be a tremendous player for us in the future, anchoring the defense and providing quality offense as well with his ability to play with his back to the basket and developing range. In particular, we think he has the qualities to play the pick and roll effectively on both offense and defense, which is central to today's NBA.

While we considered a few other players that we certainly like in this spot, Towns was the clear choice throughout, and we are looking forward to blending him with Ricky Rubio at point guard and Andrew Wiggins on the wing to create an athletic, entertaining team that is excellent on both sides of the ball.

Taylor: There was some talk going around that Flip Saunders was really high on Jahlil Okafor, but it appears he was thankfully overruled. Towns is the better all-around player and has the higher ceiling. Okafor is more NBA-ready, but let's face it, the Wolves aren't winning anything this year. Giving Towns a chance to grow alongside other young prospects like Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, and Ricky Rubio is the best thing for this team. It also makes them extremely exciting to watch.

Kevin: I’m higher on Okafor than you are, Taylor.  That is saying something considering that I have a huge negative reaction toward any player coming from Duke. That being said, Towns is a solid pick for the Wolves here.  He’s going to fit in well with Wiggins and Rubio.  He’s got an NBA body already, ahead of the curve on Okafor on the defensive end, but I don’t think he’s as polished as Okafor offensively. With the Wolves he doesn’t have to be.

Do you think he starts from day one?

Mitch: I like Towns, but unlike some folks, I don’t think he’ll revolutionize the position or be the next Kevin Garnett. That said, I do think that he will be a good big man in this league, probably earn a couple of all-star nods and be a key player for the T-Wolves going forward. I’m not sure how much he will affect the Wolves winning games in year one, but watching pick and rolls with him and Rubio (or even Wiggins at the ball handler) should be fun.

Taylor: I think Pekovic probably continues to start in the middle, at least at the beginning of the season. They could try Towns out at the 4, though, although they have kind of a logjam at that position with Garnett, Bennett, and Adreian Payne already there. Their biggest need is at shooting guard, but they need assets and Towns is the best one available.

Lucas: As the Timberwolves said in their press release, it will most likely take Towns a few years to develop into a star. He only averaged 10 points per game during his only season in Lexington, though, to be fair, Callipari didn’t feature Towns, opting instead to lean on the team’s collective talent. Towns was used almost exclusively as a back to the basket player last season, and Timberwolves fans should expect Towns to develop into a face up threat as well, and may be able to extend his shot to the three point line during his fourth or fifth year.  What Timberwolves fans can expect in the short term is an athletic 7’0" Power Forward, who will run the floor, and defend the rim at a very high level. Towns and Wiggins will likely turn into a killer pick and roll combination, as will Towns and Rubio, assuming Rubio comes back. In the long term, Towns is the type of player that can transform  a franchise. I’m not sure if Towns will be the best power forward in the league, I believe that title will belong to fellow Kentucky alum Anthony Davis, however I do expect Towns to be in the conversation as one of the best big men in the league, and I expect him to be in that conversation quickly.

Dontae: I can imagine that this pick was easier than what was let on by the Timberwolves brass (aka Flip Saunders). Though the word was that Okafor was the look for them, Towns is the correct pick all along. He’ll take a year or two to round into form (as big man usually do), but he’ll be the anchor that they need on both ends of the floor. A new age Kevin Garnett, mixed with a little Chris Bosh is not too far-fetched.


Now if they can find a buyer for Nikola Pekovic’s contract, they will have the makings of a young, athletic, and exciting core with which to build on. As the San Antonio Spurs, and this years’ Golden State Warriors can attest, the more shooters (or in this case potential shooters) you have at each position, the greater your chances of success in today’s NBA you can expect. A no-brainer pick.