While the team is also high on Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Chinese Basketball Association player Emmanuel Mudiay—and ranks those players two and three, respectively, on their draft board—the team would take Towns if awarded the No. 1 pick in the draft, ESPN said.
Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell is fourth on the team's draft board, followed by Duke's Justise Winslow, according to ESPN.
The Knicks have a 19.9% chance to secure the league's top overall NBA draft pick when the draft lottery is held May 19, according to ESPN. The team has an 87.7% chance of landing a top four pick.
New York finished the 2014-15 NBA season with a 17-65 record, the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second-worst record in the NBA.
The team's 65 losses were the most in franchise history, and the team had an average point differential of nearly -15 points per game during the second half of the their historically bad season.
Team president Phil Jackson is likely to keep the Knicks' pick if it falls within one of the top four, but would consider trading it if it dropped to No. 5, according to the report.
Jackson has previously expressed an interest in drafting a defensive-oriented player.
- Will Green