The Golden State Warriors will happily accept the 30th and final pick in the first round of the 2015 NBA draft. That spot symbolizes their great 67-15 regular season that was validated by the team's first championship in 40 years.
After years of futility and a few seasons of lightweight contention, the Dubs sit atop the hoops world and at the bottom of the NBA draft order.
All of the top names in the draft will be long gone by the time the Warriors pick. Those players are the ones garnering the most attention as the draft approaches. The event will take place June 25, and here's a look at the latest news on the hottest prospects.
Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves
Per Shams Charania of RealGM, the Kentucky Wildcats' Karl-Anthony Towns is scheduled to meet with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. It is unclear whether Towns will work out for the team that holds the top pick in the draft, but Chad Ford of ESPN.com reported that Minnesota was still split on whether to take Towns or the Duke Blue Devils' Jahlil Okafor with the top pick.
Perhaps the meeting and potential workout will help Minnesota decide which big man it wants to select once the draft begins. The team should also strongly consider trading down to third or fourth. D'Angelo Russell is an excellent prospect, and drafting him would make Ricky Rubio even more expendable than he already is in Minnesota.
If the Wolves took this approach, the team would have Russell, NBA Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine to build around. While the team would be passing on Towns and Okafor, it would have two very valuable trade chips in the No. 1 pick and Rubio to add other assets.
Kristaps Porzingis is the Hottest Name in the Draft
Without question, the name that has the most buzz right now is Kristaps Porzingis. The 7-footer from Latvia has risen to the No. 3 spot on CBSSports.com's Garry Parrish's most recent mock. Parrish writes:
Porzingis keeps drawing comparisons to perhaps the greatest European player in history (Dirk Nowitzki). And if that projection is even close to accurate then Philadelphia has to take a serious look at selecting the 7-foot prospect here. Ultimately, I believe the [Philadelphia 76ers] Sixers will pull the trigger on Porzingis, which would possibly be great for them and definitely be terrific for the Knicks.
The athletic big man doesn't appear to have some of the toughness and passion issues that previous international busts such as Nikoloz Tskitishvili had. Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Porzingis said all the right things during a recent meeting.
“The biggest thing for me—the thing that I think most about—is that you can get into the gym whenever you want here," Porzingis told Yahoo Sports over dinner recently. "They give you a card, or a key, and in the middle of the night, if you want to work out, you just go to the gym and get your work in—and I think that's amazing."
Every team should love that approach.
Russell and the Sixers
At one point, Russell cancelled a workout with the Sixers, which usually indicates a player has a promise from a team that sits higher on the draft board. Apparently, the cancellation was due to illness, and per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Russell not only worked out for Philly, but per a source, he felt he "killed it."
Referencing a source, Pompey wrote:
Russell arrived on Tuesday afternoon and had dinner with general manager Sam Hinkie. Then he spent Wednesday at the Sixers' practice facility at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. The point guard worked out for the team and had a lengthy meeting with coach Brett Brown.
"He said killed it," the source said of the workout. "He was talking about how excited he was about Philly."
It sounds good and certainly makes sense for Philly, but you have to wonder if the Wolves could tempt the Sixers by offering the top pick. The Sixers got bad news about the progress of Joel Embiid's injured foot, and his potential absence from the 2015-16 season could leave a hole in the middle.
Taking Okafor or Towns would give Nerlens Noel an excellent running mate in the frontcourt. Having the top pick would also provide the Sixers with a valuable trade asset. Things are beginning to get intriguing as the draft approaches. It'll be interesting to see if teams play it straight or if there's a ton of wheeling and dealing.
In the end, every team is trying to close the gap between themselves and the Warriors.
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