Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 Draft Scouting (1st Round): Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis
PF
7'1, 220
Baloncesto Sevilla
Ventspils, Latvia
8/2/1995





Kristaps Porzingis enters the 2015 NBA Draft as an unknown to most casual fans.  An athletic 7-footer with range out to the three point line, he should be an excellent fit in today's NBA as a stretch four.  Porzingis has played the last two seasons at the highest level of Spanish professional basketball, for Sevilla in the ACB.  A role player last year, Porzingis has thrived as a go-to player in 2014-15, putting up impressive numbers in the ACB and Eurocup play.  Despite his production in one of Europe's top leagues, there are still many questions about whether Porzingis can cut it in the NBA due to his thin frame.

Porzingis' performance in 2014-15 has ranged from solid to spectacular:

Season
PPG
RPG
BPG
SPG
FG%
FT%
3P%
2013-14 ACB
(35 games)
6.9
2.8
0.9
0.6
47.4%
62.5%
30.2%
2014-15 ACB
(26 games)
10.4
4.7
1.0
0.8
46.0%
75.4%
33.3%
2014-15 Eurocup
(16 games)
11.6
4.1
1.2
0.9
55.6%
70.7%
45.9%

Porzingis was Sevilla's second leading scorer and rebounder in ACB play, where he led the team in blocks.  While his rebounding production has slipped a bit in Eurocup play, he remains the team's second leading scorer and is having an incredible stretch shooting the ball.

STRENGTHS

Porzingis' greatest strength is his versatile offensive game.  With range to keep defenders honest out to the three point line, Porzingis also has the skill to attack off the dribble.  He also is able to knockdown fadeaway and step-back jumpers in the mid-range.  He's also an above average athlete, which makes him proficient in the open floor.

WEAKNESSES

Porzingis' greatest weakness is his lack of strength.  He has an incredibly thin and frail frame, which will see him get pushed around on defense, and expose him to a greater risk of injury.  Despite his athleticism and ability to finish around the rim, Porzingis does not take a high amount of free throws.  He also lacks go-to moves on the block.

FIT WITH THE PISTONS/AVAILABILITY

Porzingis' offensive skillset would be an excellent fit in the Pistons' system, as his shooting would help open space in the lane for the Reggie Jackson-Andre Drummond pick-and-roll.  His athleticism and ability to run the floor would also help open up the pace of the team.  However, the fact that he needs to add at least 15-25 pounds before he can truly make an impact suggests that the team can't afford to wait a few years for him to make an impact.

Mock Draft (Date)
Porzingis’ Position
Detroit’s Pick
Draft Express (4/2)
8th - Detroit
Porzingis
CBS Sports – Vecenie (2/27)
6th – Denver
10th – Kevon Looney
Basketball Insiders - Koutroupis (3/1)
9th – Utah
8th – Justise Winslow

It's a toss-up if Porzingis will still be on the board when the Pistons are on the clock.  The hype has been building for Porzingis over the last year, and it's not unreasonable to think that he'll go as high as 6th or 7th.  Although I like Porzingis' upside and it would be fun to hear George Blaha and Mason announce his name, I'm not sold on him, due to the fact that it could be a few years before he's ready to make a true impact.

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