Towns ap­pears set to go to Tim­ber­wolves with the top pick, then it’s up to the Lak­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Brod­er­ick Turner

The Lak­ers, with the No. 2 pick in to­day’s NBA draft, are still con­sid­er­ing their op­tions. Our ex­perts pre­view­ing the draft see Karl- An­thony Towns from Ken­tucky, above left, and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor as the top two picks.

The NBA draft is ex­pected to de­liver its typ­i­cal plot twists, with enough sur­prise picks Thurs­day at the Bar­clays Cen­ter in Brook­lyn to force play­ers and gen­eral man­agers to stay alert.

One of the few sure things seems to be the se­lec­tion of Ken­tucky cen­ter Karl- An­thony Towns as the f irst over­all pick by the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves.

Then the in­trigue starts with the sec­ond over­all pick by the Lak­ers.

Even as most Lak­ers fans clamor for Los An­ge­les to use that pick on Duke cen­ter Jahlil Okafor, it ap­pears that Ohio State point guard D’An­gelo Rus­sell re­mains in play.

And there also has been con­stant chat­ter about the Lak­ers’ quest to trade their pick, and some play­ers, to the Sacra­mento Kings for All- Star cen­ter DeMar­cus Cousins.

Af­ter Okafor had

the f irst of his two pre- draft work­outs with the Lak­ers this month, Lak­ers Gen­eral Man­ager Mitch Kupchak didn’t hes­i­tate to state how the team is ap­proach­ing this draft.

“Ev­ery­thing is on the ta­ble,” Kupchak said.

The Philadelphia 76ers will be next in line, and when it comes to the 76ers’ front of­fice, ev­ery­thing al­ways ap­pears to be in play.

The 76ers have the third pick and it would seem wise to take Rus­sell — if he’s still avail­able — be­cause Philadelphia needs a point guard, af­ter trad­ing 2014 rookie of the year point guard Michael- Carter Wil­liams ( the 11th pick in the 2013 draft) to Mil­wau­kee.

But Philadelphia is also in­ter­ested in Lat­vian big man Kristaps Porzingis, a 7foot power for­ward who has been com­pared to Dirk Now­itzki.

The 76ers’ de­ci­sion will have a di­rect bear­ing on what the Knicks do with their No. 4 over­all pick.

Rus­sell, at 6- 5, is the kind of big point guard Knicks Pres­i­dent Phil Jack­son likes to run his tri­an­gle of­fense.

But if Rus­sell is not avail­able, that could force the Knicks to take Porzingis, or 6- 5 point guard Em­manuel Mu­diay or per­haps Duke small for­ward Jus­tise Winslow.

Or, the Knicks could trade their pick and move down in the draft.

So the rest of the league will just have to wait and see which play­ers are avail­able af­ter the top four teams make their choices.

Another pos­si­bil­ity is that Bos­ton, with two f irstround picks ( Nos. 16 and 28), is re­port­edly look­ing to move up and land a top- 10 pick, while other teams, in­clud­ing Sacra­mento and Char­lotte, might be will­ing to trade their picks and move down. De­ci­sions, de­ci­sions. There will be 60 play­ers taken in the two rounds of the draft, and ev­ery ex­ec­u­tive hopes he makes the right de­ci­sion.

But it’s still a bit of guess­ing game, even af­ter the fi­nal se­lec­tions are made.

Pho­tog r aphs by As­so­ci­ated Press

Steve Helber As­so­ci­ated Press


put up huge sta­tis­tics dur­ing his one sea­son at Ken­tucky, but he’s the con­sen­sus No. 1 pick.

Mitchell Lay­ton Getty I mages

JOSHUA SMITH TRANS­FERRED to Georgetown af­ter two- plus mostly in­ef­fec­tive sea­sons at UCLA.

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