To no one's surprise (although you never quite know what will happen with Minnesota), the Timberwolves selected Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns with the No. 1 overall pick. Towns seemed the obvious choice for the Wolves heading into the evening, and I think it's safe to say that [most of] Minnesota breathed a collective sigh of relief when Towns walked across the stage to shake NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's hand.
I've been rooting for Towns all along, as I feel he's more athletic than Jahlil Okafor and will be a better fit for the Wolves system. I could also see some larger lineups happening with both Towns and Gorgui Dieng or Nikola Pekovic on the floor at the same time.
The other thing that I've liked about Towns is that he says all the right things, and I actually think they're genuine. Okafor made it clear as mud that he was not interested in playing for Minnesota and would be okay going at No. 2 if it sent him to the Lakers. Towns, on the other hand, mentioned Kevin Garnett's name more than once and expressed several times that he liked the idea of playing with Wiggins and Co. in Minneapolis. Wiggins and Towns actually roomed together in 2013 during the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland. Towns said the following about reuniting with Wiggins:
"You know what? If you were blessed and honored with the privilege to play with a talent like that, you're just thinking about how explosive the team could really be. Not only is Andrew Wiggins explosive, but as talented as he is you also have Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine. You're talking about some really explosive players. That team is going to be really good, and if I'm blessed and honored and privileged to be on that team, then I can't wait to add my contribution."
In the end, Towns just made the most sense. Kudos to Flip Saunders for making the choice to bring him to the Target Center!
Amazing reaction from our crowd of 10000 at Target Center as Flip Saunders gets Karl Anthony Towns on the phone! pic.twitter.com/23uggsjuIR— chris wright (@wolvespresident) June 26, 2015
In honor of the Wolves selecting Towns, I have to share my favorite pre-Draft Twitter post:
Tyus Jones to Minnesota
I think it's safe to say most Wolves fans are incredibly happy with how this year's Draft went. For a bit it didn't seem that Tyus Jones would fall to Minnesota, but Flip Saunders had something up his sleeve when Cleveland was on the clock.
The Cavs and the Wolves worked out yet another deal that sent a Cleveland draft pick to Minny. This time, it was hometown hero Jones drafted at No. 24 and traded to the Timberwolves for the No. 31 and No. 36 pick in addition to a future pick.
Jones was actually stationed in a Minneapolis bar with his family during the Draft, which worked out well for him.
Glen Taylor and Flip Saunders just stopped by Tyus Jones' Draft Party. Mingled for a bit. Smiled.— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) June 26, 2015
He had a message for Wolves fans:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Welcome home, champ! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GrowTogether?src=hash">#GrowTogether</a> <a href="https://t.co/fDBkLNREnA">https://t.co/fDBkLNREnA</a></p>— MN Timberwolves (@MNTimberwolves) <a href="https://twitter.com/MNTimberwolves/status/614284604829097984">June 26, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Major Trades and Transactions
There were a number of trades throughout the evening; here are a few of the notable ones that took place during the first round:
Trade Between Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks
Washington receives: rights to No. 15 pick Kelly Oubre Jr.
Atlanta receives: (1) rights to No. 19 pick Jerian Grant (2) two future second-round picks
Trade Between Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks
Atlanta receives: Tim Hardaway, Jr.
New York receives: rights to No. 19 pick Jerian Grant
Trade Between Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers
Minnesota receives: rights to No. 24 pick Tyus Jones
Cleveland receives: (1) No. 31 overall pick (2) No. 36 overall pick
Overall Reactions to 2015 NBA Draft
There was a lot to think about in this year's Draft! It was a really deep draft class, and a couple interesting moves took place. Here are a few of my thoughts on the evening:
- Minnesota gets an "A" for the 2015 Draft. This is arguably the best Draft night the Timberwolves have had in years. It was no surprise that they picked Towns at No. 1, but it was the cherry on top to grab Apple Valley standout Tyus Jones at the end of the first round. I still have reservations about Jones, but there's no denying his talent, specifically when it comes to shooting. If he proves to be NBA-ready, this will be a huge asset for Minnesota.
- Jahlil Okafor falling to No. 3. As a Minnesota fan, I have to admit I was a bit entertained by this one. Okafor was a bit outspoken about "being okay" with falling to No. 2 because he would rather play for the Lakers than the Wolves. However, he assumed he would only fall to No. 2. I guarantee you when he went at No. 3 to Philadelphia, he would have given just about anything to play in Minnesota.
- New Yorkers don't hide their feelings. When New York selected Porzingis at No. 4, I wasn't expecting it. I absolutely thought Porzingis would drop farther than that, but I still didn't expect the reaction from the New York fans. He actually got booed. If I'm Porzingis, I head into the Knicks locker room with a chip on my shoulder ready to show everyone why they were wrong.
Press Conference TODAY
The Timberwolves will hold a press conference at 1:00 p.m. today at Mayo Clinic Square. You can watch the presser live on Timberwolves.com.