The Minnesota Timberwolves selected former Kentucky Wildcats center Karl-Anthony Towns with the first overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on June 25.
The Minnesota Timberwolves made Karl-Anthony Towns the No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft on June 25.
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Towns now owns the distinction of being the Timberwolves' first No. 1 overall pick in franchise history, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Kent Youngblood. Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders made the move many expected in picking Towns, who will contribute on both ends of the court.
After NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the Timberwolves' pick, a crowd of eigh thousand gathered for a draft party at the Target Center in Minneapolis cheered enthusiastically, per Youngblood.
Saunders then spoke with Towns after he was drafted and asked him if he had anything to say to the fans.
"We're going to the playoffs!" was Towns' reply, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
In an exclusive interview with Kyle Ratke of the Timberwolves' official website, Towns said he really feels the Timberwolves are on the verge of being playoff contenders:
"I think that we're very close. We're very close to a postseason berth. As soon as we get everything together.
"(Last season) wasn't a bad season because of bad play. I think it was a bad season because we were so young. It's just a hard time to find everything together.
"Now we got everybody healthy, I think we're going to go into the season very ready."
Towns will fly to Minneapolis on Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor's private jet on Friday. He will hold a 1 p.m. CT press conference on that day, per Youngblood.
He told ESPN (via The Minneapolis Star Tribune) right after he was drafted he will contribute to the Timberwolves' cause immediately.
"I'm going to go in and be versatile as I can be, contribute that way," he told ESPN. "The one thing I want Timberwolves fans to know is I'm going in with a winning attitude."
Minnesota decided to go with Towns over the likes of Ohio State Buckeyes point guard D'Angelo Russell (whom the Los Angeles Lakers chose No. 2 overall) and Duke Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor (who went third overall to the Philadelphia 76ers) after Saunders saw him work out in Los Angeles and then brought him to Minnesota to work out in front of team owner Glen Taylor, per The Minnesota Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.
Saunders would dub the Towns acquisition "a home run," per Zgoda.
The Timberwolves would later acquire Duke Devils freshman point guard Tyus Jones in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers for three second-round draft choices -- two in 2016 and one in 2019, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Zgoda says Jones will back up starter Ricky Rubio at the point guard spot for Minnesota.
For his part, Towns described the prospect of playing alongside Jones as "awesome" and playing with Rubio as "amazing," per The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
He also told Zgoda playing in Minnesota reminds him of his Kentucky Wildcat days, where they went 38-0 before losing to the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Towns, who is Dominican-American, then said he's very happy to be in the position he's in:
"It reminds me a lot of Kentucky. As soon as we come together, I think we can be a force to be reckoned with.
"It just means the world to me. I'm just blessed to be in this opportunity to show a boy from Piscataway, New Jersey and Dominican Republic can make it.
"I'm blessed to be in this seat talking to you. It just means the world that I'm going to be able to show kids around the world that with a little hard work, determination, a little bit of luck and some determination, you can really make it far in this world."
The Timberwolves, who have missed the playoffs for 11 straight years, will look to the 6'11", 250-pound Towns to make a difference on the defensive end.
Minnesota finished dead last in the NBA with a defensive rating of 112.2, per The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Andy Greder.
"We've been terrible defensively," Saunders told Greder on Thursday. "What Towns does is he has a unique ability to cover ground quickly...It's like having to shoot over a house."
With Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, Minnesota becomes the first NBA team with three No. 1 overall picks on its roster, per The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
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