While there was some deliberation, from a basketball standpoint Karl-Anthony Towns’ decision to enter the 2015 NBA Draft was a smart one. Many believe that either he or former Duke big man Jahlil Okafor will be the top pick in the late-June draft, depending upon which team wins the draft lottery that’s to be held later this month.
Towns has Okafor beat in one area however: he’s already been selected in a professional basketball league draft. Thursday the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto (National Basketball League) (the article is in Spanish) of the Dominican Republic held its annual draft, and where Towns was selected may been seen as a surprise to some.
He was the sixth pick in the draft, with the Leones Basketball Club in Santo Domingo making the pick.
Towns, who has played for the Dominican national team and will clearly have the opportunity to do so in the future, tweeted “this is our year!” after receiving the news.
There will be people who wonder how on earth a player as talented as Towns could “slip” to sixth in the draft, but it’s pretty simple. The chances of Towns playing in the LNB are incredibly slim, based upon where he’s expected to go in the NBA Draft and how much money will be on the line. Teams ahead of Leones passed on Towns in hopes of landing a player more likely to join their team, which is understandable.
But if you’re Leones, which won its lone LNB title in 2011, why not take the chance on Towns? And his reaction to being picked could lead to some Lloyd Christmas-like optimism in team offices.
Two of the top three picks in the draft played Division I college basketball last season, with former Florida forward Jon Horford going second overall and former Manhattan forward Emmy Andujar going third. Kelly Beidler, who played collegiately at Mount St. Mary’s from 2006-10, was the top overall selection.