NBA Draft prospects are beginning to hold workouts for NBA scouts and executives in preparation for the draft on June 25.
Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, the 7-foot big man many people consider the No. 1 pick in the draft, is reportedly lifting his stock by dominating these workouts, even amongst two other top prospects, D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein.
DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony told Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader that Towns blew everyone away at a closed workout with Russell and Cauley-Stein on Monday.
Givony called Towns’ workout “mind-blowing.”
Players reportedly worked on shooting, dribbling, post moves, and footwork before being told to freelance, which amazed Givony (via Herald-Leader):
“And then it was, ‘Here’s the ball, go iso. Pick whatever move you want.’ Which I love, because it gives the player the freedom and creativity to show off whatever they feel like showing off. And you can see that Karl had quite a bit to show off.”
“It absolutely surprised me. You don’t see 7-footers who can dribble like that. How low he gets to the ground, and just how effortlessly he can handle and spin and pivot and jab — he doesn’t look like he’s 7 feet tall. He looks like he’s 6 feet tall, the way he moves.”
Givony added that he thinks Towns is the clear No. 1 pick after watching him work out.
ESPN’s Chad Ford was also at the workout and wrote about Towns’ unique skill set:
In a league filled with superstars who often are physical wonders — Towns still stands out.
Big men can’t do things Towns can do. They’re not supposed to. It’s not natural. Yet, for 90 minutes, Towns kept playing more like James Harden than Dwight Howard.
Ford added that Don MacLean, a former NBA player who ran the workout, said afterward, “I’ve been training guys for the draft for 11 years, and I’ve never seen anyone his size who can do the things that Karl can do. It’s otherworldly.”
DraftExpress posted a video of the workout, showing off many of Towns’ skills. Though he’s not being defended, his ball-handling and movements are very smooth:
And Towns’ ability to shoot smoothly off the dribble is rare for his size:
Ford also posted a video of Towns hitting three after three during the workout:
The exciting part of Towns’ versatility is he projects to be a traditional NBA big man. In Kentucky, he acted as a defensive anchor and mostly scored around the basket. In today’s NBA, some players have similar size as Towns, but don’t have the skills of big man, so their versatility can’t be used as a weapon at center. Towns has the skills to be a standard center, but he could become a matchup nightmare with his ability to work off the dribble or shoot from the perimeter.
Towns isn’t guaranteed to go No. 1 — Jahlil Okafor is reportedly the Minnesota Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders’ favourite prospect — but Towns is clearly marking himself as the most exciting prospect in this year’s draft.