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NBA Draft Media Day Notes: D'Angelo Russell, Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

What D'Angelo Russell knows about Philadelphia, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's local roots, and re-uniting the Grant brothers.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

D'Angelo Russell's podium was one of the more crowded areas during Wednesday's media day, as a couple dozen reporters were interested in talking to the former Ohio State product about his future destination. Whether he ends up in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, or even New York, Russell made one thing clear: he absolutely does not care.

"I'll play for any team," he said. "Whether it's for the so called best team, or the so called worst team."

When asked specifically about Philadelphia, Russell said that his workout was his first time he ever stepped foot in the city. "It was my first time being there," he mentioned. "I heard a lot of negative things about [the city of Philadelphia] but when I toured it, it was nice. I had just never been to Philly, so just going there opened my eyes a little bit more."

Out of all the teams in the draft, Russell likely has more connections with the Sixers than anywhere else. He spent a year at Montverde Academy with Joel Embiid, and is friends with both Isaiah Canaan and Nerlens Noel. According to Russell, Nerlens is eager about the possibility of the two of them becoming teammates.

"[Noel] just said, ‘The pick we're gonna get is high, and you're gonna be in that range. If you come, we can make a run at this thing.'"

The 19-year-old Russell has also formed a positive opinion towards Sixers head coach Brett Brown, in part because of their meeting during his workout, and also with a little help from Evan Turner. "Brett Brown's a players coach, just from hearing about him," Russell said. "I'm friends with Evan Turner who was there for a year when [Brown] was [in Philadelphia], and he said the same thing. He's a great guy to get along with. When I was in the meeting with Brett I had a great vibe, he wasn't a hard guy to read...he seems like a great coach to play for."

Despite reports stating otherwise, D'Angelo Russell has done a pretty good job making it clear he'd have no issue becoming a member of the 76ers come Thursday night.

Other notes:

  • Kristaps Porzingis did not workout for Philadelphia at all during the pre-draft process, nor did he meet with general manager Sam Hinkie. When asked about possibly joining a front court that includes Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, Porzingis responded, "I think just our youth and our energy would be a great mixture. We can block shots, run the floor, all the guys are real athletic. I think it would be a good combination."
  • The Latvian native also attributed his remarkable shooting touch to playing a different position as a kid."When I was really young I used to play point guard, so I think that's where I improved my perimeter skills," he said. "Just Dribbling the ball up the court, facing the basket...that's where I got my skills. "
  • Arizona's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a native of Chester, Pennsylvania, made it clear he's going to have a large, local contingent at the draft on Thursday. "Let's just say it's gonna sound like a Brooklyn game when they hear my name, because it might be half Chester in the building," he said. His brother, Rahlir, spent this past season playing for the Delaware 87ers.
  • Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant seemed excited about possibly re-uniting with his brother Jerami in Philadelphia. "It'd be great," he said. "Just growing up with him my whole life, this being both of our dreams, to be able to do it together would be fun. He's a great player, and they have a great young team coming up, so it would be fun to join it."
  • Not a lot of mid-first round talent worked out for the Sixers before the draft. Hollis-Jefferson, Grant, and Kevon Looney did not work out in front of Philadelphia's brass. Kelly Oubre said he only worked out for "six or seven" teams, and the Sixers were not one. Arkansas's Bobby Portis said he "worked out for everyone except the Sixers". If Philadelphia is looking to acquire a second first round pick, they're keeping their interest in any specific player very quiet.

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