The NBA draft is coming next month and the LA Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers have the top 3 picks with the wolves at number 1 and players like Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, D'Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay are targets for those teams along with the Knicks and Los Angeles could end up in a great place at number two.
The Lakers made the most significant jump in the draft lottery by moving to number two and they are in a great place because they are guaranteed to get a top prospect. The Knicks are not in that situation despite finishing with the second worst record and most draft experts see Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor as the top two picks head of D'Angelo Russell. According to Pro Basketball Talk, Chad Ford of ESPN reports that Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay are the top players for the team on their draft board.
The Lakers are in a good spot, as they can look at whomever the Timberwolves take and then decide which route to follow. The team surely would want to be able to choose between the players at number one, but they moved up to two and that is a very significant jump and a bit of a lucky one. The team is guaranteed a chance at drafting either Towns or Okafor and depending on how workouts go this offseason before the draft, Mudiay or Russell could be the pick.
Mudiay is getting attention heading into the draft and the Knicks reportedly are eyeing him with the number four pick along with Justise Winslow. The Knicks also could trade the pick, as the New York Post reports that the team will listen to offers. The Knicks were very disappointed at not getting one of the top two or top three picks after finishing with such a bad record, but they still can get a solid prospect. The team is desperate for a point guard and they could consider Mudiay or Russell is they are available when they select.
Okafor started off the season as the presumptive number one overall pick and over the NCAA tournament, Towns caught up to him and in some scouts eyes, passed him. The Timberwolves have the number one pick and they could become the first team ever to have three first overall draft picks on one roster. The team traded for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett in the offseason for Kevin Love and now they have the chance to take Okafor or Towns.
After the tournament Towns moved ahead of Okafor on most boards by draft experts, but according to Pro Basketball Talk, Flip Saunders "really likes" Okafor at number one and could take him at number one overall. The team will consider trading the pick, as owner Glen Taylor said they will listen to offers, but they likely will not make the move. Okafor is looking like a strong option at number one, but there is a chance the Wolves go after Towns instead.
The Lakers have Jordan Clarkson emerging and with Julius Randle coming off of foot surgery, the team likely will go after a big man. The 76ers ended up third and all signs so far point to them taking Russell. The Sixers need a new PG and Russell is very young and has the potential to play both backcourt guard positions.