NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Timberwolves got their man in the middle. The Lakers got a playmaking partner for Kobe Bryant.
Knicks fans just got mad.
Minnesota selected Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, the first of three straight freshmen chosen before New York chose Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis, triggering loud, long boos from their fans inside Barclays Center.
“Lot of fans weren’t happy they drafted me,” Porzingis said. “I have to do everything in my hands to turn those booing fans into clapping fans.”
The 19-year-old had been surging up draft boards but Knicks fans, who haven’t forgotten the drafting of European Frederic Weis and were underwhelmed by the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani, wanted no part of him, booing lustily after his name was called fourth overall by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
One young fan on the television broadcast appeared to be crying over the selection.
“I … want to be part of this organization,” Porzingis said. “The fans are harsh sometimes, that’s how it is in New York and I’m ready for it.”
Not everyone thought it was an awful pick:
Fans were cheering later in the first round when the Knicks acquired the rights to Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant from Atlanta for Tim Hardaway Jr.
Knicks president Phil Jackson said Porzingis — who is 6-foot-11 and weighs 220 pounds — has a body type and athleticism similar to five-time All-Star Pau Gasol.
Porzingis averaged 10.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and one block in 33 games for Cajasol Seville in the Spanish League during the 2014-15 season.
“He shoots it with great ease,” Jackson said. “He fits very well into what we like to run.”