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Draft Notes: Okafor, Russell, Lyles, McCullough

Duke center Jahlil Okafor was atop most draft rankings for most of the season, but Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns eclipsed him during the NCAA Tournament, and now Ohio State combo guard D’Angelo Russell has leapfrogged him for No. 2 on Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider Board. There isn’t unanimity on Russell’s ascension, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him going fourth to the Knicks, with the Sixers taking Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis third. More clear is that this year’s draft isn’t hurting for intrigue with two weeks and one day to go before teams start picking. Here’s the latest:

  • The Pistons, who hold the eighth selection, are the team picking highest among those interested in Kentucky power forward Trey Lyles, Ford hears and writes within his rankings (linked above). There’s almost no chance that Syracuse power forward Chris McCullough slips past the Nets at pick No. 29, Ford also hears.
  • Slovenian center Ziga Dimec has worked out for the Sixers and will do so for the Mavericks, Celtics and Bucks, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Dimec, who’s automatically draft-eligible as a 22-year-old from overseas, is Ford‘s No. 96 prospect, but he’s outside the top 100 for Givony, who has him as the 19th-best international prospect born in 1993.
  • Josh Newman of adds the Jazz, Nuggets, Rockets, Wizards, Cavaliers and Bulls to the list of teams reportedly working out Syracuse big man Rakeem Christmas.

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