Not trying to be too demanding, Tom Thibodeau sent Karl-Anthony Towns to New York with a little leeway.
Towns, recently minted as the NBA Rookie of the Year, will be representing the Timberwolves at Tuesday night’s draft lottery. And here was Thibodeau’s request:
“Top two and I’m good,” said the Wolves coach and president of basketball operations. “I’m giving him a little rope.”
Actually, that’s kind of a tall order. Tuesday will mark the 20th time the Wolves have been in the NBA’s yearly lottery to determine June’s draft order. And they have never improved their lot. Of course, that was OK last year when owner Glen Taylor represented the team for the first time and brought home the No. 1 pick overall after the Wolves had posted the league’s worst record. The Wolves had a 25 percent chance of winning it all and they did, ultimately selecting Towns, who became the unanimous Rookie of the Year.
So the kid has a tough act to follow. With the league’s fifth-worst record in 2015-16, the Wolves have a 36 percent chance of getting the sixth pick, a 26 percent chance of getting No. 5, and 8.8 percent chance of winning it all and a 29.1 percent chance of getting a top-three pick.
“This is an honor to even be selected on the team’s behalf to represent us at the next draft lottery,” Towns said. “I just can’t wait to possibly see the next rookie of the year.”
TV coverage of the lottery will be on ESPN starting at 7 p.m.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience,” Thibodeau said of the decision to send Mr. Towns to New York. “Obviously Glen had a great understanding of what his job was last year, and he went out and did his job. We’re hoping Karl can do the same.”
So that begs the question: Will Towns bring any good-luck charms with him?
“I just always believed in myself that the way things are supposed to happen, they’ll happen,” Towns said. But although he isn’t a big believer in good-luck charms, he did admit “there will be a special one’’ with him Tuesday night.
Towns will be wearing around his neck the wedding ring of the late Flip Saunders, the team’s former coach and president of basketball operations who died in October. The ring has been worn by Flip’s son, Ryan Saunders, a Wolves assistant who told Towns he could bring it with him to New York.