Seemingly every NBA Draft has its international man of mystery, a skilled foreign-born player who intrigues scouts and team executives more and more as that fateful date approaches.
This year, that man is Kristaps Porzingis, an agile seven-footer with a smooth shooting stroke.
Porzingis participated in a group workout at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas on Friday, an event that was well-attended by plenty of front office decision-makers. And he drew nothing but rave reviews.
From Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Porzingis was VERY impressive in workout. A scout called him the best player in the draft “He’s better than Karl Towns,” said the scout.
Some league executives think Porzingis could become the best player in this draft. However, they believe KAT is the safe pick at No. 1 …
While Porzingis has solid offensive skills for a 7-1 PF, there’s a sense that Russell is still the better option for the Sixers.
Philadelphia is loaded with talented frontcourt players in Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, so Porzingis, for them, would almost certainly be a duplication.
The Sixers need guard play to compliment those interior players, so D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay appear to be more realistic options.
But Porzingis impressed. It’s unlikely the Timberwolves or the Lakers go there with one of the first two overall picks, but Phil Jackson attended this workout, and if he feels as strongly as some others, the Knicks just might.
Hawks forward Chandler Parsons was involved in a car crash last week.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
It’s easy to see where this is headed. Parsons is positioning himself for a lawsuit, laying the seeds for both lost earnings and emotional distress. We might see Parsons’ future NBA salaries be litigated.
Parsons signed a four-year max contract in 2016. He hasn’t had a reasonably productive seasons since, struggling with knee issues. Parsons recently touted how healthy he felt, but that had to be viewed in context of a 31-year-old with an extensive injury history.
Parsons had played sparingly the last four seasons, including just five games this season. Did he land outside the Hawks rotation because they’re focused on youth or because he’s just no longer good enough?
That could become a question for a court room.
Parsons will be a free agent this summer. I projected him for a minimum-salary contract somewhere. He was clearly hungry for an opportunity without the max-contract burden weighing on him.
It’d be a shame if Parsons lost that because of a drunk driver.
Kyrie Irving missed nearly two months with a confounding injury.
During that time… Kendrick Perkins accused Irving of faking to avoid returning to Boston. Celtics fans chanted “Kyrie sucks!” without him even there. More examples of Irving’s moodiness in Boston emerged. Kevin Garnett suggested Irving didn’t have the cojones to play for the Celtics.
YES Network (2:40 mark):
When I was out for those seven weeks and not saying anything and still people are still saying things about me. It’s inevitable. They crucified Martin Luther King for speaking about peace and social integration. You can go back to historical leaders and great people in society that do great things, and they’re still going to talk s—about them. It is what it is.
I don’t think Irving is putting himself on King’s level but rather pointing out that even great people get attacked. This could be a way for Irving to contextualize that he shouldn’t fret about the lesser criticism he faces.
I’d give Irving that benefit of the doubt, especially considering his comments on Brooklyn hosting the 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today.
Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report:
It’s more than an honor. I have done so much historic research on just my community as well as they voice that I have and where I am in the position I’m in as well on the platform. I just wish there were not just holidays to commemorate some of the historical black leaders that have really put their lives on the line and lost it in the line of Civil Rights or making a social impact. Those things hit you real deep when you know the history of where the society has gone. I’m really grateful to play on Martin Luther King Day, but his legacy exists more than just a game being played on that day or Nike shoes being put out or something else. It’s so much more for our society to realize what he was really involved in and what he did in terms of communities across the world on
Again, I don’t think Irving was equating himself with King.
But can I absolutely put it past Irving, who talks as if he’s on a higher plane of existence, emphasizes his own importance and makes weird self-comparisons? No.
It also wouldn’t be the NBA’s first case of being tone deaf about King.
The Hawks are reportedly are no longer interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond.
What about the Knicks, whose trade talks with Detroit were reportedly more serious than exploratory?
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
According to an NBA source, the Knicks have no interest in a trade despite a report the Pistons approached them about a deal
Like Atlanta, New York both isn’t winning anything of note this season anyway and can easily open cap space to pursue Drummond in unrestricted free agency this summer.
The Knicks also have another center in Mitchell Robinson. They should develop him rather than surrendering assets for a replacement who might not be as good as Robinson once they’re ready to win.
New York is desperate. So, a Drummond trade seemed at least plausible.
But not trading for Drummond makes the most sense. Though the Knicks could do anything, I’m inclined to believe this report.
Knee soreness, followed by an illness, has had Kristaps Porzingis in street clothes for 10 games, dating back to before the first of the year.
Sunday he went through practice and expects to play Tuesday when the Mavericks host the Clippers, Porzingis told the media Sunday.
That’s pretty much what the Mavs and KP were saying last week, then knee soreness flared up again and he sat out a few more games. This time he seems ready to go, although expect him to have some reduced minutes the first couple of games back.
Porzingis is averaging 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds a game, shooting 34.3 percent from three and providing a dangerous pick-and-pop partner for Doncic. Porzingis, who missed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL, has improved as the season has gone on and he’s gotten his legs under him.
Dallas went 6-4 without Porzingis and their league-best offense didn’t miss a beat thanks to Luka Doncic. Defensively, however, the Mavericks missed his size in the paint, giving up 6.9 points more per 100 possessions in those 10 games than they averaged when he is on the court this season.
Dallas is 27-15 on the season and currently sit fifth in the West.