- No. 1: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky, 6’11”, PF/C, Freshman
- No. 24(via trade): Tyus Jones, Duke, 6’2”, PG, Freshman
With the first pick, Minnesota chose Karl-Anthony Towns, arguably the best prospect in this year’s field. Towns is the archetype of the modern big man, who is developing a low-post game, shooting touch, and rim protection which provides a unique two-way versatility. He also displays greater defensive potential than the Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor, as well as a higher ceiling overall, and an inside-out game that fits well in today’s NBA. Minnesota also grabbed Tyus Jones with the 24th pick after trading away some of their second round picks to the Cavaliers. Jones has displayed superior court vision, passing and scoring abilities in both the half court and in transition, as well as a great basketball IQ. Jones is also a winner, whose confidence has lead to multiple game winning shots in his collegiate career. Jones’ lack of strength and athleticism could limit his abilities as a finisher and defender, which does lower his upside.
With Towns, the Timberwolves fill a huge need in their front court, as Towns’ defense and ability to play away from the basket will help diminish center Nikola Peković’s shortcomings. Towns’ versatility will also make it easy for Minnesota to build around him. Even with Jones’ lack of an upside, he still has the potential to be a very good player in the NBA. His strong decision-making and on-the-ball skills will make him an excellent back-up to point guard Ricky Rubio. His presence will also allow PG/SG Zach LaVine to fully shift to a combo scoring role after serving as a backup point guard last year.
This switch will increase his effectiveness dramatically, as he is much more of a scorer than a distributor. Overall, these two picks greatly strengthen the Timberwolves, and they seem poised to build a solid team off of their new foundation.