There are very few things in the world that we can all agree on, and the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is no different than most.
University of Kentucky freshman Karl-Anthony Towns is at the top of most big boards, but there remains a vocal subset of dissenters who believe that Duke's Jahlil Okafor should be in consideration for the top spot.
It's an opinion that has a fair amount of merit. Okafor is a "classic" big man: A 6'11" behemoth who sub-lets space on the block during most offensive possessions thanks to his ample (though, less ample than two months ago) backside. The consensus first-team All-American has more post moves than your mailman, and thanks to hands larger than Carlos Ruiz's catcher's mitt, he's pretty much automatic inside the restricted area.
If a team's offensive philosophy is that of playing the game inside-out, Okafor (who also happens to be a deft passer) is an ideal fit. But when it comes to today's NBA, Towns is who Andre 3000 would refer to as the "Prototype."
Towns is far from a finished product when his back is to the basket, but even with a still-developing post game, his long arms and 250-pound frame will allow him to be effective against most forwards and centers on the next level. Towns's raw numbers don't appear that impressive (10.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 1.1 APG), nor should they because Wildcats' coach John Calipari employed a platoon system for most of the 2014-15 season.
The intrigue surrounding Towns's offensive game centers on his ability to stretch the floor thanks to a potent jump shot - a weapon that makes the Kentucky star one of the more versatile bigs in this year's draft class. But even without letting it fly from deep this season (he attempted just eight three-pointers in 2014-15), Towns's per-40 stats (19.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.3 blocks) put him in the neighborhood of Wooden Award winner Frank Kaminsky, and his 31.4 PER was the fifth-best mark in the NCAA last season.
"My team needed me to be a force around the basket," said Towns when asked by the New York Times about his post-centric game this season. When pressed about his affinity (and ability) to step behind the arc, Towns replied: "It's always in my back pocket if I need it."
Towns' shot chart this year. pic.twitter.com/9Hnerco0Gq— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) March 4, 2015
While Okafor's defense (or, more accurately, his desire to commit to it) is a huge question mark, Towns has already proven that he can be a force inside. The UK freshman tallied at least three blocks in a game 16 times this past season, and Towns's Defensive Rating (78.1) was actually better than that of his teammate - and first-team All-American - Willie Trill Cauley-Stein (80.0).
We'd usually ask the crew over at our SB Nation companion blog - in this case, Canis Hoopus - what they would with their team's pick. There's no need to do that in this scenario. Sure... the Timberwolves could select the talented, but limited, offensive prospect whose defensive instincts are in doubt, or they could select the 6'11" power forward/center who can have an immediate impact on both ends of the floor. And besides... even casual observers can agree that a possible starting five of Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng is more than a little fun (at least on NBA 2K16).
Dear Karl-Anthony: Enjoy Minneapolis. It gets a little cold in the Twin Cities during the winter, but it's nothing that a trip to Cabela's won't take care of. And don't worry about your travel accommodations once you get there: Prince will send an Uber to pick you up from the airport. I heard that he likes basketball.