Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 NBA Draft: Top 10 Prospects — Kristaps Porzingis

#5 Kristaps Porzingis — 7'1" 220 lbs | 19 yrs-old | Lative| Forward | Rookie | Sevilla (Spain)

Bio: The most intriguing international player in this year’s draft, Porzingis’s star has been on the rise for the past two years in Europe. He originally entered the 2014 NBA draft, but pulled out as the date drew near. Returning to play in Europe for Sevilla for another season, he was named the Eurocup Rising Star last year. He is also a two-time all-ACB (Spain’s top pro league) selection. Despite his slender frame, his size and perimeter skills have NBA teams intrigued. The popularity of the stretch-four position has created an increased desire for fives who can shoot three-pointers as well, and Porzingis fits that model well.
Kristaps Porzingis [Upside: Kevin Durant -vs- DownsideJan Veselý]

Strengths: Porzingis is a true 7-footer with the athleticism of a much smaller player. Having played professionally in Europe, his skills are more developed than many American big men. His shot is a thing of beauty, with a high release point and a quick trigger. He is more the mold of a stretch-four in a center’s body, but he makes up for his inability to back down opponents with an excellent shot over either shoulder. He hustles in transition and can often exploit slower big men tasked with guarding him. His best fit would be with a fast-paced team that likes to run the floor. He isn’t an elite jumper, but he finishes at the rim whenever he can. At 19, his upside is tough to calculate, particularly if he can maintain speed while adding weight to his frame. With a slightly more developed low-post game, he could become a matchup nightmare.
Weaknesses: Unlike Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns or even Willie Cauley-Stein, Porzingis is not an NBA-ready big man. But with the right amount of time and development, he could be a matchup problem as a stretch four. Porzingis will likely get pushed around by NBA centers until he can add some weight to his frame. What position he will play, and what position he will defend, could become problems early on for the team that drafts him. On offense, he has made up for his lack of post moves by becoming an excellent jump shooter, but he has no answers on defense when caught in the low post with players his own height. He is not an excellent rebounder and gets boxed out far too often for a player of his size.
NBA comparison: Dirk NowitzkiSports Illustrated
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