And one contrarian’s pick is ...

Everybody, it seems, is picking Kentucky center/forward Karl-Anthony Towns first overall in Thursday night’s NBA draft. And that includes reformed Wolves basketball boss Flip Saunders.

OK, I’ll be the contrarian and take Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell.

He flatly declares himself the best player in the draft, and he could be right in an NBA in which scoring guards — Stephen Curry, James Harden, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose (when healthy), Damian Lillard and the list goes on — end up with the ball at game’s end.

Russell has the deep shot, playmaking instincts and, maybe most important, the swagger to become a star, quite possibly a superstar.

What’s that you say? The Wolves already have Ricky Rubio? Unlike what David Kahn once said about Rubio and Jonny Flynn being able to play together, you could actually play two supremely gifted passers together in a game that has become all about playmakers.

Or in a perfect world, you include Rubio and other assets in a trade that could get you another top-10 pick and a shot at a player such as Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein, who’s the most freakish defender to enter the league in years. In a more perfect world, you extract a player or pick(s) from the Lakers to swap draft places.

JeRRY ZGODA