There’s been a ton of buzz surrounding the 19-year old, 7’1″ international prospect Kristaps Porzingis in recent days, and with good reason.
League executives who got a long look at Porzingis during a workout on Friday were impressed, and for many of them, it was the first time seeing him play in person. His smooth shooting stroke from all over the floor, including from NBA three-point distance, is obviously unusual for a player of his size, and his ability to attack the rim with speed and power also stood out during individual drills.
One scout believes Porzingis is worthy of being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and that he may turn out to be better than Karl-Anthony Towns. While that may or may not be the case, there is some truth to the fact that teams at the top of the draft board are considering Porzingis, based on recent evaluations.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Draft scuttle: Hearing Porzingis not only in play for Philly at No. 3 but now giving Lakers something to ponder at No. 2. Stock rising fast
It’s tough to see the Sixers taking him, here, unless the buzz reaches a critical mass to where the front office believes he’d be an incredible asset that the team could immediately dangle in trade in an attempt to upgrade the roster.
Assuming things don’t get crazy, Philadelphia will likely go guard at three, with D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay being the most likely candidates.
As for the Lakers, it’s a little more tricky.
L.A. is guaranteed to have either Towns or Jahlil Okafor available depending on which way Minnesota goes, and both of those bigs are viewed by most to be sure-fire, possibly transcendent NBA talents. So, the question becomes, just how much risk are the Lakers willing to take? Because you know they will get absolutely destroyed if they go against conventional wisdom and an international prospect ends up not working out.
A lot of this could be chalked up to recency bias, since Porzingis left a great impression just 24 hours prior to these reports, and with almost two weeks and several more workouts ahead, things can and will certainly change. But it’s clear that the decisions facing teams in possession of the top three picks will continue to weigh heavily as June 25 approaches.