Every team with which Chad Ford of ESPN.com has spoken has Jahlil Okafor atop its draft board, as Ford writes in an Insider-only piece, and that includes the Timberwolves, who have the pole position for the No. 1 overall pick, as our Reverse Standings show. That’s even despite the presence of Gorgui Dieng, whom Ford says the team is high on, and Nikola Pekovic, who’s making about $12MM each season through 2017/18. The ESPN.com draft guru runs down how Okafor would fit with each of the teams in line for a lottery pick, and he tosses in some noteworthy rumors as he does so. We’ll hit the highlights here:
- The Knicks like Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell in addition to Okafor, Ford writes, adding that the Jazz are Russell fans, too.
- Philadelphia would draft Okafor in spite of the presence of Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, Ford hears. The Sixers aren’t sold that either Noel or Embiid will become an elite player, Ford also hears, as he writes in his chat with readers.
- Mudiay is No. 2 behind Okafor as far as the Lakers are concerned, but it’s not close, as Ford says he’s been told.
- The Magic won’t hesitate to draft Okafor and believe he has the superstar potential that their other players don’t, Ford hears.
- Al Horford would “love to move to power forward,” Ford writes, suggesting that the Hawks, who have the rights to take Brooklyn’s pick, would grab Okafor if given the chance.
- Ford speculates that the Pistons are the team in line for a lottery pick that’s least likely to draft Okafor, believing he’d be a poor fit alongside Andre Drummond.