John Calipari: No debate between Towns, Okafor for top NBA draft pick

0:48 | NBA
John Calipari: No debate between Towns, Okafor for top pick
Friday June 5th, 2015

Kentucky head coach John Calipari told the Star Tribune there should be no debate against the Minnesota Timberwolves drafting his former player, Karl-Anthony Towns, with the first pick in this month’s NBA draft.

Towns and former Duke star Jahlil Okafor are widely considered the main candidates for the Timberwolves at No. 1, and Calipari was quick to support Towns, his former player who was an All-American this past season while helping Kentucky to the Final Four.

“Wow, it‘s a debate?” Calipari said to the Star Tribune when asked who the top pick should be. “It’s seems lilke [sic] that would be the only city there would be a debate in.”

NBA draft rumors: Latest buzz around teams, players

Calipari noted Towns’ versatility and shooting range as two of his strengths that would justify him being drafted No. 1. Towns shot 56.6% from the field at Kentucky.

Calipari also said Towns would be happy to play in Minnesota.

“The greatest thing for Minnesota if they choose to pick him is, he wants to be there,” Calipari said, according to the Star Tribune. “You can take either guy and maybe Jahlil feels the same way, I don’t know. I just know Karl Towns, if they choose to take him, wants to be there.”

JENKINS: Oracle Arena brings the noise for NBA Finals

In his last mock draft,’s Chris Mannix pegged Towns to the Timberwolves, describing him as “a polished post player who also thrives at the free-throw line.” In a “common sense” mock draft published on Monday,’s Chris Johnson and Jeremy Woo had the Timberwolves taking Okafor due to how his post game fits in Minnesota’s offense.

The NBA draft will be held on June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mike Fiammetta

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.