NBA analysts and insiders strongly favored the Timberwolves taking Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns over Duke’s Jahlil Okafor with the first overall pick. Their comments, gathered by staff writer Master Tesfatsion:


“When you have been losing consistently, you shouldn’t try to outthink yourself. That means you take the best available player. … You’ve got to go with Towns.” — Eddie Johnson, former NBA forward, broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns and a SiriusXM NBA Radio personality


“I tend to lean a little more toward Okafor, because he’s a dominant low-post scorer. Towns is not dominant at any one area.” — Jay Bilas, former Duke forward and assistant coach, ESPN college basketball analyst


“I think Karl-Anthony Towns. I’ve been really high on Okafor all year, but then in the NCAA I saw talent, versatility, the way he shoots at the free throw line so much better than Okafor. I think that will translate to a little bit of an outside game in the NBA.” — Wally Szczerbiak, sixth overall pick by the Wolves in 1999, analyst for MSG and CBS Sports Network


“I think a rim protector is something of a necessity, someone that can help them out defensively. I think that two-way player is no other than Karl-Anthony Towns.” — Jay Williams, former Duke point guard, current ESPN college basketball analyst


“I think the No. 1 pick is Karl-Anthony Towns. … He has the ability to play both inside and outside offensively. He also defensively can go out on the floor and defend smaller players on the perimeter for short periods.” — Stu Jackson, former NBA head coach, general manager and NBA executive vice president, analyst on Fox Sports 1 and NBA analyst on NBA TV


“To me, it’s a no-brainer. I think Towns is the guy. … There are a lot more guys who are 6-2 to 6-6 in the world walking around that can play basketball than there are 7-foot guys who can do what Towns does.” — Amin Elhassan, former Suns official, ESPN NBA front office insider


“They should pick Karl-Anthony Towns because in today’s NBA, versatility is the coin of the realm. I do think it’s a close call. People seem to talk as if it’s a slam dunk over Okafor. I think they’re both going to be multiyear All Stars.” — Seth Davis, Sports Illustrated writer and CBS college basketball analyst


“I’d take Okafor. He’s a big-bodied true center with unbelievable feet, great hands and an array of offensive moves rarely possessed by 19-year-olds. He’s better than most NBA centers offensively right now.” — Gary Parrish, CBS Sports national columnist


“Karl-Anthony Towns … would be perfect for the Wolves. Depending on how [Nikola] Pekovic is and if he’s back, you have a guy that’s more versatile in screen-and-rolls and in your rotations. … He’s a better offensive player than people think.” — Nancy Lieberman, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, Thunder analyst for Fox Sports Oklahoma