The order in which these players are selected may not be set, but the expectation is that Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell will be the first three players taken (in some order) by the Timberwolves, Lakers and Sixers.
It has been speculated that scenarios may unfold which would allow one of these players to fall to the Knicks, who are sitting behind Philadelphia with the fourth overall selection. It would have to involve Russell sliding into one of those top two slots, and the Sixers then theoretically passing on Towns or Okafor due to already being loaded with frontcourt talent.
The latest report, however, says that even if the top three picks don’t go down as expected, the Sixers are locked in to taking one of those three players.
According to a league source, the Sixers, who pick third, still have a firm Big 3 of Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell and Okafor and won’t let any of the trio slip to Phil Jackson. Despite their young, marquee depth up front, the Sixers would take Okafor even if it’s to collect an asset to trade later.
Speculation that Russell is trying to avoid being picked by the moribund Sixers escalated when he canceled workouts with them this weekend. There also were rumblings that perhaps the Lakers, after working Russell out, had given the Ohio State combo guard a guarantee at No. 2. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported he was just “real sick’’ and a Sixers workout could be rescheduled. Russell has told reporters he also has agreed to work out for the Knicks.
There are, of course, other ways that the Knicks could land one of these three players.
Kristaps Porzingis is beginning to be a name mentioned as possibly going top-three now, and Emmanuel Mudiay is at least a threat to potentially rise into that group, as well.
But if things go as planned, New York will have to turn its attention somewhere else.