On Friday, the Lakers had their second workout with Jahlil Okafor out of Duke. With the No. 2 pick in the draft — the highest pick the organization has had since it took James Worthy No. 1 in 1982 — the Lakers are wisely doing their due diligence, working out and meeting with all the guys near the top of the draft board: D’Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kristaps Porzingis and others.
Well, all except Karl Anthony Towns.
The Kentucky big man projected to go first overall to Minnesota isn’t working out for anyone privately, and the Lakers have given up expecting him to, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
The Lakers have also become increasingly doubtful they will have a workout for Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns. The Lakers believe their lack of progress with those efforts stem from most NBA mock drafts predicting the Minnesota Timberwolves will select with their No. 1 pick. But the Lakers will accommodate their workout schedule should Towns and his representatives express interest in a workout.
Towns reportedly met with Minnesota officials Friday but is not believed to have worked out for them at that time.
This is simply an agent making sure he controls the spin and situation as best as he can, and he wants to make sure his client is seen as the unquestioned, prohibitive favorite No. 1 pick.
Still, it’s unusual, particularly for this reason: It’s not a lock the Timberwolves take Towns No. 1. It’s likely, but there is a well-reported difference of opinion between Minnesota decision maker Flip Saunders — who loves Okafor — and the rest of his staff (and just about every other scout) who likes Towns better. Saunders watched Towns at a workout last week in Southern California — one not put on or organized by the Timberwolves — and reportedly came away impressed. It made it more likely Towns goes No. 1. But it is no lock.
You can expect the top of the draft board to go Towns then Okafor, but even if the order flips those will be the top two. When things really get interesting is with Philadelphia at No. 3 and the Knicks at No. 4 (with New York willing to move the pick for the right price).