Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 NBA Draft: Top 10 Prospects — Karl-Anthony Towns

#1 Karl-Anthony Towns — 6'11" 250 lbs | 19-yrs-old | Forward | Freshman | Kentucky

Bio: Towns was a known commodity coming out of high school, having been named the Gatorade National Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American. Still, it seemed in November that Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor would remain atop his class (where he’d been since eighth grade) and be selected first in the NBA draft. Okafor may still go No. 1, but Towns is regarded as the superior prospect in most draft rankings. Upside is key with Towns, as his spot-shooting and three-point stroke weren’t on display at Kentucky but could emerge in the right NBA system. His defensive effort and ability—instilled in him by his father, a former player at Monmouth University—have made him the most complete big man in this year’s draft.
Karl-Anthony Towns [UpsideLaMarcus Aldridge -vs- Downside: Eddy Curry]
Strengths: Towns has ideal size, strength and athleticism to be a star NBA center. He plays with passion on both ends and moves up and down the court well for a player his size. He has the natural feel of an elite shot-blocker and is an above-average rebounder. His offensive game is still developing, but his footwork in the low post is advanced for his age and his free-throw shooting (81.3%) helps support the idea that he may be the second-best shooting big man (behind Frank Kaminsky) in this year’s draft. He plays with his head up and excels at passing out of double teams. He has tremendous potential for growth offensively in the NBA, and the work ethic to become the most valuable long-term pick in this draft.
Weaknesses: Fouling and physicality were his biggest problems in his one season at Kentucky. He was called for 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes, which negates some of the praise for his ability to block shots. Like many big men, he struggles when stuck near the perimeter, particularly on pick-and-rolls. He flashed an increased assertiveness during the NCAA tournament, but he will be asked to do more right away as a rookie. Is he ready to take on the added responsibility? Physically, another 10-15 pounds on his frame would help prevent him from being pushed around by NBA bigs.
NBA comparison: Marc Gasol — SI.com
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