The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Kentucky big Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick in the NBA Draft.
Fellow Wildcat Willie Cauley-Stein went sixth to Sacramento, teammate Trey Lyles heard his name called for Utah’s 12th pick, and Kentucky guard Devin Booker fell to Phoenix in the next spot. The fearsome foursome gave the University of Kentucky four picks in the first thirteen. UK coach John Calipari controversially called preparing players for the pros, not winning NCAA titles, his “number-one job” in March. Mission accomplished.
Though the Timberwolves taking Towns surprised nobody, the second pick shocked, at least mildly. The Los Angeles Lakers, surprising many but not John Pudner who predicted it, selected D’Angelo Russell, an Ohio State guard who looks to take the baton from aging and oft-injured Kobe Bryant.
The Philadelphia 76ers grabbed Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, talked about as a possible top pick before his stock slipped, with the third pick. The New York Knicks raised eyebrows, and elicited booed from fans trekking to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, by selecting seven-foot-two Latvian Kristaps Porzingis. The Orlando Magic then selected Mario Hezonja, a 20-year-old swingman from Croatia, with the fifth pick.
Emmanuel Mudiay, who spent the last season playing professionally in China, dropped to Denver in the seventh spot. Born in Congo, Mudiay, along with Hezonja and Porzingis, represent the increasing international flavor of the National Basketball Association.