With the 2015 NBA Draft just a few weeks away, BallinEurope’s Sam Chadwick is breaking down the Europeans in contention to hear their names called on 25 June. Now on deck it’s a Latvian prospect who has a high ranking but remains a mystery to NBA fans. Sam Chadwick breaks down the mystery that is Kristaps Porzingis.
Position: Power Forward/Centre
Date of birth: 02/Aug/1995
Current club: CB Sevilla
A seven footer than shot 45.9% on three’s in Eurocup and 32% in ACB league play, with an average of 37% across both competitions? for a 19 year old kid from Latvia no wonder some scouts are thinking of picking him up in the top 3, with comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki.
Aside from solid outside shooting Kristaps can also get to the rack.. causing some serious posters so far this season for CB Sevilla using a quick first step and tremendous length to get to the hoop and finish with the harm, speaking of harm, he also averages over 70% from the stripe, not shabby compared to most big guys in the NBA who end up being the hack-a-victim in many of today’s crucial NBA games.
The last ‘Strength’ for Kristaps has got to be that word that’s dreaded by some and loved by others.. Potential.. Its not every day that you get to draft a 7ft 19 year old with a sweet outside shot, driving ability who could develop into the next Dirk.. I’m not saying that he is or will be the next Dirk, but do you really want to be the GM who missed him in the Draft?
At the moment Kristaps is a little weak, given his age and how long he has been playing this should be a long term weakness, look at Valaciunas, he has bulked up considerably since moving over to the NBA and the same should be a problem for the Latvian.
This lack of bulk results on a number of missed rebounds simply by being pushed out of the way by bigger, stronger and in most cases, older and more experienced players, its definitely a development zone, but what prospect with huge ‘potential’ doesn’t have areas to work on? One thing we most consider in the rebound factor when comparing him to Jahlil, Towns and Cauley-Stein is that those guys were going against college players, some fellow 19 year olds, Kristaps was going against seasoned veterans every game.
At the moment his post game is a bit of an issue, due to his smaller frame he is frequently pushed around on the post and cant gain a strong position, he does however have a nice array of hook shots, banks and inside moves which once he has gained some bulk will add a whole new dimension to his already solid offensive repertoire.
Most mock drafts have Kristaps going around no5, DraftExpress currently have him at 8 on their board going to the Detroit Pistons (who’s fans are probably having nightmares about Darko 2.0), NBADraft.Net have him a little higher going to the Orlando Magic at number 5.
CBS currently have him as high as 5th all the way down to 13th overall! Zach Harper currently has him at 5th, Sam Vecenie at 8th to Detroit and Gary Parrish may regret putting him all the way down at 13th going to the Phoenix Suns.
All of these teams could do with his size and potential with the Suns the least likely in my opinion, mainly due to the fact I don’t think he will drop that low but also because they have a seven footer of their own in Alex Len who has improved in his 2nd season in the NBA this year.
Whoever takes him is going to need to be sold on his potential, some GM’s are reportedly considering him as high as 3rd overall which for me is a bit of a reach as I feel Hezonja has proven himself more consistently over the years, where as Kristaps hasn’t had the same longevity.
I could see him working in Orlando along side Vucevic on a team with a solid young core who have drafted considerably well over the last few years, his outside shooting gives them the ability to stretch the floor, Vucevic has a solid post game and is a tremendous rebounder, Oladipo and Payton are strong attacking the basket and they can both find the open man.
Where ever he goes in the draft here’s a little BiE Prediction… Kristaps should go down as the best talent to ever come out of Latvia, I’m not quite sold on the next Dirk hype but we will see how that pans out in a few years.