It won't be long until the 2015 NBA Draft begins with the Minnesota Timberwolves on the clock.
They're widely expected to take Kentucky Wildcats big man Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick. As ESPN's Chad Ford writes in his 'Grade A' mock draft, Towns is the best possible selection Minnesota can make.
Ford is so high on Towns that he believes the talented forward could propel Minnesota into the playoff picture very soon. That's why towns gets the edge over Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell, Latvia's Kristaps Porzingis and Duke's Jahlil Okafor.
Not only do I personally believe that Towns is the best player in this draft, I also believe he's a terrific fit for Minnesota. He's better than any of the 4s they currently have on the roster, can play the 5 when needed and he gives them a big who can stretch the floor or score with his back to the basket. He's a perfect fit next to their young core of Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, and you are talking about the best young core in the NBA. And with young players like Zach LaVine, Anthony Bennett and Adreian Payne coming off the bench and vets like Kevin Garnett, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin on the roster, the Wolves could be playoff bound faster than anyone expects in the West.
In a major surprise, Ford says Okafor is not the best player the Los Angeles Lakers could take with the No. 2 pick. Instead, he goes with Latvia's Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis is the second-highest-ranked player for me personally, but the difference between him, Emmanuel Mudiay, D'Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor is pretty small. Of the four, Russell or Okafor is the best fit. The Lakers need shooting, and Russell can play both positions in the backcourt. Okafor gives them a huge upgrade at center. But I'm also a big believer that teams should think long term here, and in the long run, I believe Porzingis has the highest ceiling behind Towns. He's got elite size, can stroke the 3, and he's a good athlete. I'm not sure he necessarily fits yet in the Lakers, but given the talent, I think you make him fit.
Amazingly, Ford then has Okafor falling to the No. 6 pick. China's Emmanuel Mudiay goes No. 3 to Philly, followed by Russell at 4 to New York and Croatia's Mario Hezonja to Orlando at No. 5.
As for the rest of the Kentucky prospects, Devin Booker goes to Charlotte at No. 9, Indiana nabs Willie Cauley-Stein at 10 and Trey Lyles falls to Washington at No. 17. In the 2nd round, Detroit gets Dakari Johnson at No. 38 and Andrew Harrison goes 43rd to Indiana. Aaron Harrison goes undrafted.