Karl-Anthony Towns impressive pre-draft workout footage yesterday understandably left fans of the Los Angeles Lakers salivating and hoping that the Kentucky big man drops to the team with the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
That may not happen, but the Minnesota Timberwolves could look to trade down in the draft, taking the Lakers second overall pick and another asset in exchange for their first overall selection, according to ESPN Insider and mock drafter extraordinaire Chad Ford (emphasis mine):
I think Flip see's Okafor as a major post up presence on offense -- a major need of the Wolves... Towns has more strengths than Okafor, fewer weaknesses (if any) and I think he's a better fit with Gourgi Dieng and Pekovic. No question Towns can play some four in the NBA and be a nightmare match-up. Let's see what happens when they come in to visit with the team. I don't think the Wolves will get to see them workout together, and both guys are impressive off the court. But we're still three weeks away. Lots of homework going on. I think the Wolves will eventually decide to take him 1, or perhaps swap with the Lakers and try to pick up another asset.
Trading down in the draft would certainly be a bold move for Minnesota President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders, but it would vibe with reports of "all signals" pointing to Saunders' preference for Jahlil Okafor over Towns. Ford does also say that he still believes that the Timberwolves will select Towns first overall, but for someone as plugged in as Ford to mention a trade down probably means it is at least within the realm of possibility.
Would the Lakers' 27th and 34th overall picks in the draft be enough to convince the Timberwolves to trade down one slot? Or would the Wolves' asking price be higher, with Saunders looking to grab a young Lakers asset such as Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle? If the Lakers front office truly wants to move up in the draft, they may have to be willing to pay a high price. Both Okafor and Towns are tantalizing prospects, and the assets necessary to move up may not end up being worth it. If a trade up is on the table, however, it is certainly worth looking at before the draft arrives on June 25th.