ESPN.com draft guru Chad Ford (Insider subscription required) opines that two tiers of talent appear to be forming in the lottery portion of the upcoming NBA draft. The upper tier includes Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis, all of whom are currently projected as top five selections, Ford notes. The second tier consists of Kevon Looney, Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein, Myles Turner, Kelly Oubre, Mario Hezonja, Stanley Johnson and D’Angelo Russell, and they will make up the likely No. 5 to No. 12 overall selections, Ford adds.
Here’s more from around the league and the college ranks:
- Ford has also released his most recent “Big Board,” which has Oubre cracking the top 10, and has Jerian Grant of Notre Dame making a big leap from No. 27 to No. 19.
- A league source told Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (Twiitter link) that there is a lot of NBA interest in Jack Cooley, and there is a strong possibility that he could be inked to a 10-day contract shortly. Cooley currently plays for the Idaho Stampede, the Jazz‘s D-League affiliate.
- Former Pistons assistant GM George David was hired as director of basketball operations for Wasserman Media Group, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports (Twitter link).
- One college player starting to catch the eye of NBA scouts is Washington’s Robert Upshaw, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. “I would agree that he was a sleeper to start this season, maybe,” one league scout told Deveney. “He is not a sleeper anymore.” The 7’0″ center is averaging 11.1 points and 7.8 rebounds so far this season, and he is drawing interest as a potential first-rounder, Deveney notes.
- The Warriors have assigned Ognjen Kuzmic to their D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team announced in a press release. This will be Kuzmic’s fourth trek of the season to the D-League.