The Minnesota Timberwolves made history Thursday night in more ways than one. The Wolves selected Kentucky big-man Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick in the NBA Draft and made a big splash when they traded up with Cleveland to bring Tyus Jones home.
Despite the Timberwolves struggles over the last 10 years, Towns becomes the first player drafted by the Wolves with the No. 1 overall pick in the franchise's 26 years. But he will be the third consecutive No. 1 pick on the Timberwolves roster.
He seems motivated to help the Wolves end their long playoff drought.
It's his athleticism that makes Towns special. ESPN's Sports Science explains just what kind of special talent he is.
Towns' ability to defend the rim should help the Wolves defense, which is in desperate need of improvement. According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota ranked 30th in the league in defensive rating at 112.2, two points behind the second-worst team the Los Angeles Lakers at 110.6.
Despite being just 19 years old, Towns' game is well-rounded. At Kentucky he was named the 2015 SEC Freshman of the Year and was instrumental in the team's undefeated regular season.
He averaged 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Wildcats. He led the team with 88 blocks and also excelled as a shooter, converting nearly 82 percent of his free throws.
He is the third Kentucky Wildcat to be drafted at number one.
Towns will come in and have the opportunity to play with a talented young core highlighted by Wiggins, last year's rookie of the year.
He also will have the opportunity to learn from another player the Wolves drafted as a teenager 21 years ago – Kevin Garnett. ESPN says assuming Garnett returns, he'll be asked to help mentor Towns.
"To have a legend like KG to be your mentor is going to be amazing," Towns told ESPN before the draft. "It's going to be a blessing, it's going to be an honor to be under his tutelage and grow with him and the team."
Tyus Jones returns home
Minnesota then sent the 31st and 36th picks to Cleveland to land Jones at No. 24.
The selection completed the draft for the Wolves with Towns and the former Apple Valley standout.
Jones helped to lead Duke to the NCAA National Championship. He averaged 11.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils and scored 23 points and hit some big shots in the second half to lead the Blue Devils to the title.
Minnesotans are excited about their draft picks.