HoopsHype Draft rumors

January 26, 2015 Updates

If there is some good to come out of the rotator cuff injury that sidelined Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season, it is that the Lakers could lose a whole lot of games the rest of the way and finally be in position to draft a Kobe guy—this time, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson. Several times in recent years, Bryant has formed a connection with a top prospect in the upcoming draft, with an introduction and the possibility of workouts and friendship. Those players wind up signing with Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka. Such was the case with Dante Exum last year, Derrick Williams in 2011 and James Harden in 2009. But the Lakers could, finally, wind up with a Kobe draftee. According to league sources, Pelinka is in position to sign the fast-rising Johnson, should Johnson do the inevitable and leave school early. As Arizona has pushed its way up the rankings—they’re 18-2 and currently No. 6—Johnson’s stock has soared. Sporting News

It appears that Ford's rankings have now all reverted to their original draft day forms. We've reached out to Ford for an explanation. This post will be updated when, and if, we get one. SB Nation

After reviewing the post on Reddit today, we have found that changes were made manually to Chad Ford’s NBA Draft prospects rankings. We have not been able to determine who made the changes, or when. We have talked to Chad Ford, who strongly denies any involvement, and based on his past work and professionalism, we believe him. Our review will continue but it is unclear at this time if we will be able to ascertain who was responsible. ESPN.com

January 25, 2015 Updates

Jahlil Okafor, the 6-foot-11, 270-pound 19-year-old Duke freshman phenom from Chicago. “I’ve talked to over two dozen NBA general managers and scouts, asking who they would take No. 1 if the draft was held today, and every single scenario that answer was Okafor,” ESPN draft insider Chad Ford said in a phone interview. “Okafor is the guy right now. He’s the most dominant college basketball player in the country.” New York Post

“I think there’s a significant gap between him and everybody else,” said one NBA scout who has seen Okafor several times. “I don’t think there’s any question that he’s the best college player this year. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s skilled. He’s worked on his body from high school to college. Every time I see him he looks thinner. “The thing that stands out when you watch him him workout is [that] his touch out to 10-to-12 feet is pretty amazing for a guy whose hands are as big as they are.” New York Post

A second NBA executive said Kentucky’s versatile 6-foot-11 forward Karl-Anthony Towns of Piscataway, N.J., and Dallas point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who opted to play overseas in China rather at SMU, are other possibilities, depending on who lands the first pick. Ohio State dynamic freshman guard D’Angelo Russell is a possible sleeper, as well. “It’s not 100 percent,” another NBA scout maintained. “There’s definitely other options. It depends on the need of a team. [Okafor will] definitely be in every single talk for the No. 1 pick.” New York Post

January 24, 2015 Updates
January 22, 2015 Updates

Providence junior forward Tyler Harris has plans to enter the NBA Draft in June in spite of a puzzling role reduction that has fueled a belief that he’s being regressed to stay in school for his senior season of eligibility, sources told RealGM. One season after starting in all 35 games of Providence’s run to the NCAA Big East tournament championship, Harris has started 11 of 19 games. Harris – the younger brother of Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris – has seen his minutes reduced by an average of 3.7 compared to a season ago when he played 32.2 per game. RealGM

Some New York Knicks fans want to see the team tank the season to land a top pick in the NBA draft. But to star forward Carmelo Anthony, that is a "bad mentality to have." "I don't know how to have that mindset," Anthony said Wednesday night after the Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 98-91 to improve to 7-36. "Having that mindset as a basketball player, as a competitor, it's just hard to do unless you don't care about the game, what happens and your performance. To say that we're going to go out there and we want to lose a basketball game, I think that's a bad mentality to have." ESPN.com

January 21, 2015 Updates

A former league executive gave an insightful reason why international players—and perhaps examples such as Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay—are better served playing overseas than in the D-League: The high cost of traveling invariably prompts owners to send their higher-echelon executives to see those players, while scouts and lower-rung executives are more apt to get the Santa Cruz itinerary. Who the top decision-maker has seen live, or most often, can tip the scales when it comes to pre-draft skull sessions. Bleacher Report

January 20, 2015 Updates

The league needed 23 teams to vote for lottery reform, but only got 17. Now that we're halfway through the regular season, we have a pretty good idea which teams the reform refusal will affect in May when ping pong balls determine the 2015 NBA Draft order. And as it turns out, this season the only team that voted against reform and will benefit from its failure is ... the Sixers! SB Nation

January 19, 2015 Updates

Junior guard Caris LeVert of the University of Michigan men's basketball team injured his left foot during Saturday's (Jan. 17) game vs. Northwestern and is scheduled to have surgery this week. He will miss the remainder of the season following a 12-week recovery and rehabilitation period. LeVert had surgery on the same foot this past May. "Caris has been working so hard this season, and for this to happen is very unfortunate," said U-M head coach John Beilein. "If we know anything about Caris, he will do everything it takes to not only get better but to help his teammates during this time. He is a tremendous young man who I will really miss coaching the remainder of the season. However, I am optimistic he will have a complete recovery." University of Michigan Official Athletic Site

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.