NBA DECISION DAY
Towns appears set to go to Timberwolves with the top pick, then it’s up to the Lakers.
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.
KARL- ANTHONY TOWNS DIDN’T
put up huge statistics during his one season at Kentucky, but he’s the consensus No. 1 pick.
JOSHUA SMITH TRANSFERRED to Georgetown after two- plus mostly ineffective seasons at UCLA.