Report: Flip Saunders Prefers Jahlil Okafor, Most of Staff Likes Karl-Anthony Towns

By David Kenyon

Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns are the consensus top prospects for the 2015 NBA draft, and the Minnesota Timberwolves hold the No. 1 overall selection. So, which power forward will Minnesota select?

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford (subscription required), T-Wolves head coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders prefers Okafor.

“[V]irtually all the signals from sources inside the Wolves point to Jahlil Okafor being Flip Saunders’ favorite right now. That obviously can change as we get closer to the draft. Workouts and interviews and lobbying from staff (I hear most of the rest of the staff favors Towns) could push Towns back atop.”

Okafor is certainly a talented player and worth the top pick for some teams. However, Minnesota is not one of those franchises.

Towns boasts a better all-around offensive game than his counterpart, the most important attribute being the Kentucky product’s ability to knock down jumpers and spread the floor. Towns also holds an edge on the defensive side of the floor, so the T-Wolves assistants have the right idea here.

Plus, since Okafor does a strong majority of his damage at the rim, he’d be a redundant fit on the Minnesota front line. Per Basketball-Reference.com, Nikola Pekovic attempted 92.0 percent of his total shots within 10 feet of the basket, while Gorgui Dieng hoisted 79.3 in that range.

Towns, on the other hand, can do this:

For the Timberwolves’ sake, hopefully the staff can convince Saunders that Towns is indeed the better option. Otherwise, enjoy that logjam in the post, Minnesota.

Photo: USA Today Sports