Jahlil Okafor: Lakers Over T-Wolves


The first Duke Blue Devil coming off the NBA Draft board will be Jahlil Okafor. He will also be the first ACC player off the board. The only question is whether he will be the first player off the board.

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His competition for such an honor will be Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky. Both big men have size. Okafor has the more pro-ready body now, but that might mean that Towns has a higher ceiling down the road. One would almost be willing to make an experience versus potential argument, but they are both just former freshmen.

Okafor’s big calling cards will be his more conditioned body and his inside scoring skills. He still needs to develop his post moves, but most teams would love to that problem right now.

This would the time to argue for best fit, but a top 2 pick does not really get that luxury. Would I love to apprentice him to Tim Duncan for a year in San Antonio? Sure. Would I like to send him to New Orleans to team up with Anthony Davis? Absolutely. Those options are not realistic, even with screwy draft day trades.

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The two teams that will likely be looking at Okafor are the Minnesota Timberwolves at 1 and the Los Angeles Lakeers at 2. Okafor has taken the John Elway/Eli Manning path and said he would prefer to go to the Lakers.

It is not hard to see why Okafor would make such a choice. The Timberwolves have been floundering around since the Kevin Garnett trade (the first one). The Kevin Love era accomplished little of nothing other than hitting the reset button. There is a lot of youth in the Great White North and not a lot of record of winning. Okafor probably views the T-Wolves much as Eli Manning viewed the 2003 San Diego Chargers.

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  • The Lakers, on the other hand, are the gold standard of winning in the NBA. They may be down right now, but the organization will take whatever steps are necessary to get back on top. Okafor could trust that more than he might care what the current roster looks like. There is a year of Kobe Bryant left and then the Lakers will have big spending money at the exact moment the cap increases.

    The key will be GM/coach Flip Saunders of the Timberwolves. His offensive ideas relied on power forwards like Garnett and Love to work. Both Garnett and Love had more perimeter game than Okafor has revealed. That more than anything else might lead Minnesota away from Okafor and toward Towns.

    Next: NBA Draft Lottery - Okafor to LAkers or T-Wolves