Highly touted Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis declared for the 2015 NBA Draft on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford.
Porzingis declared for the 2014 NBA Draft and was viewed as a possible lottery pick before he withdrew from the draft and returned to his Spanish team in the ACB League. Considering his current position on many draft boards, it’s looking like that was the right move.
Porzingis is fifth on Ford’s draft board and eighth in DraftExpress’ mock draft. Scouts and NBA executives are raving about this guy, and one general manager told Ford that Porzingis might be the best player in this draft:
“He’s an athletic, super-skilled 7-footer who can do everything well,” one GM said. “I was watching him warm up and had flashbacks to when I saw Pau Gasol take the floor for the first time in Spain, only this kid is much more athletic than Gasol but plays with that same fluidity. I’ve been asking my team since then: Are you sure he’s not the No. 1 guy? Are these guys in college really better than him?”
In today’s NBA, having a big man who can stretch the floor is a huge plus, and it’s especially rare for a big to be able to both shoot and protect the rim at a high level. That’s something that this kid can supposedly do at the next level, so it’s no wonder why there’s so much hype around him. He still needs to put on some weight, but considering he’s just 19 years old, there’s plenty of time to do that.