Two decades ago, the Timberwolves selected Kevin Garnett fifth in the draft, and he turned into a superstar. Assuming Garnett — who was traded back to Minnesota in February — returns for his 21st season, he will be tasked with mentoring Towns. “I’m just so blessed to be in this position,” said Towns, who added that his main goal in the upcoming season will be helping lead the Timberwolves to the playoffs. “It just means the world to me.”
It was Kentucky’s third No. 1 pick in the past six years, joining Anthony Davis in 2012 and John Wall in 2010. It didn’t take long for the first surprise of the draft, as the Los Angeles Lakers passed on selecting Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, instead taking Ohio State freshman point guard D’Angelo Russell with the No. 2 overall pick. “I didn’t know at all,” Russell said on whether he knew the Lakers would select him. “I didn’t know at all, man. I’m still in shock.” Okafor went No. 3 overall to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he will be paired with second-year pro Nerlens Noel in the frontcourt. Big man Joel Embiid, who had to sit out his rookie season because of injury, recently suffered a setback in his return from a broken ankle, and his return is unknown.