I talked with Kentucky coach John Calipari this morning about Karl-Anthony Towns and understandably, he sounds like most of Wolves Nation when it comes to the question of who's the No. 1 pick in this draft: Towns or Duke's Jahlil Okafor.
Flip Saunders and his scouting staff are debating that question, and perhaps will do so right up until near draft night.
"Wow, it's a debate?" Calipari said. "It seems lilke that would be the only city there would be a debate in."
Saunders loves Okafor's footwork and fundamentals -- so advanced at such a young age, 19 -- and at the moment appears to still favor him.
Calipari, though, backs his own guy because of what he defines as Town's versatility: A big man with a guard's shooting range, who can defend the pick-and-roll prevalent in today's NBA block shots and score both inside and outside.
And the topper, it seems, to Calipari is this:
"The greatest thing for Minnesota if they choose to pick him is, he wants to be there," he said. "You can take either guy and maybe Jahlil feels the same way, I don't know. I just know Karl Towns, if they choose to take him, wants to be there."
Calipari was referring to national speculation that Okafor -- part of it judging from a glum expression when the Wolves won the draft lottery last month -- wants to play in Los Angeles for the Lakers, who own the draft's second pick.
"Karl's the one guy who's like, `I'm fine with Minnesota, I'd like to be in Minnesota,' " Calipari said. "There's no, like, "Well, I could go to the Lakers.' That isn't who he is.That isn't his family, either. As soon as the lottery balls hit, he called me and said, `Coach, I'm good in Minnesota, I'm fine there.' "
I'll save most of the rest of what Calipari said for our draft coverage as we get closer to June 25, but he did he thinks Towns is more power forward than center in the NBA and that, just like his former big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, if you put the right roster of players around them, all three have the talent and drive to potential league MVPs.
"Karl's body will catch up to him and in time all three of them will have a chance," he said. "They're all that good."