The Timberwolves have selected Kentucky forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns with the No. 1 overall pick. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported the news moments earlier (Twitter link). The move has appeared the likeliest outcome since earlier this month, when Mark Heisler of Forbes.com reported that coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders had become enamored with Towns after having previously favored Duke center Jahlil Okafor. It’s seemed like a virtual foregone conclusion since Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv heard that the team told Towns he would be the pick, even though Towns later denied the report.
Towns emerged as the top prospect on draft boards during the NCAA Tournament, surpassing Okafor. Kentucky coach John Calipari‘s unprecedented depth helped keep Towns’ numbers modest, as he put up 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game in his lone season with the school. Still, his defensive ability is obvious, and he has the capability to develop into an all-court force, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors examined in our Prospect Profile of the 19-year-old.
The Leon Rose client will earn $5,703,600 this coming season, presuming he signs for the standard 120% of the rookie scale. He’s in line to earn $25,720,035 over the course of the four-year rookie scale contract, as our table of likely salaries for first-round picks shows. The Timberwolves will have to sign him to that deal before they bring him onto the roster, though that should be largely a procedural matter. He’ll represent a $4.753MM cap hold on Minnesota’s ledger until the team officially signs him.