Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell is quickly becoming a potential top five pick in the upcoming NBA draft, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Scouts believe that Russell has the tools to excel at both guard positions in the NBA, and he could be the next guard selected after Emmanuel Mudiay, who is a likely top three pick, Ford notes. “There’s so much to love about his game,” an NBA GM told Ford regarding Russell. “Even when he has a bad game, it looks like a good one because every time the ball leaves his lands, it looks like it’s going in. He plays with such great confidence and has a terrific feel. I think he could be a James Harden-type player at the next level. That’s what kind of scorer and playmaker he could be.” Russell is currently ranked No. 9 in the Hoops Rumors 2015 Draft Prospect Power Rankings.
Here’s more from around the league:
- Michael Malone‘s stint as a special observer with the Wolves is ending, but the former Kings coach will be visiting other teams in the near future, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reports (Twitter link).
- A number of NBA teams have made trade inquiries regarding the Sixers‘ Robert Covington, but Philadelphia intends to hold onto the forward, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. The 24-year-old Covington is averaging 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 27.2 minutes per game this season, and he is a core part of the franchise’s long-term plans, Charania notes.
- The Russian team Krasny Oktyabr has decided to part ways with DeAndre Liggins, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports. Liggins signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Heat last season, but he only appeared in one game for Miami. Liggins averaged 6.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists in Russia this season.
- Former Sixers swingman James Anderson, who is playing for Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas, was asked in interview with Erildas Budraitis of RealGM about what it was like to be a part of Philadelphia’s alleged tanking last season. Anderson said, “With the players and the coaches, we had the same mindset all year. Who likes to lose? We were not going out and trying to lose on purpose. We had a lot of close games actually that we should have won. It was the same mindset; our coach [Brett] Brown did a great job of keeping everybody together and keeping the locker room close. Everybody continued to improve. We just could not get over the hump for a while. It was tough but it was not a mindset of trying to lose.“