NBA Draft 2015 Scouting Profile: Kristaps Porzingis
NBA Position: PF, fringe C
General Information: 19 year old from Ventspils, Latvia. Currently playing with the Baloncesto Sevilla team from the ACB League in Spain.
Measurables: 7'1", 220 lbs. Did not participate in the Draft Combine.
2014-15 Season Statistics: 11.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, .5 APG, .9 SPG, 1.1 BPG (21.4 minutes per contest) - 49.9% FG, 76.1% FT, 36.9% 3P
Summary: A 7'1 big man who combines fluid athleticism, length and a great shooting stroke, Porzingis is the class' ultimate boom or bust player. His potential is intriguing, but his lack of muscle, post-moves, and willingness to battle in the paint all point to a long-term project rather than an immediate impact player. Won the Eurocup Rising Star award.
Offensive Breakdown: Porzingis is a high level shooter, both with his feet set and when he's on the move. He's shown good off-ball ability and will be bothersome for most NBA bigs to stay with, thanks to his quickness and hustle that aren't common in 7'1 big men. He has range out to the three point line, and has provided the volume to prove that range isn't a fluke—27% of his shots are from three, and he's making 36.9% of those shots. While Porzingis is a raw player in many aspects, the combination of his shooting ability, size, length, and mobility presents a very intriguing offensive package. Porzingis came off the bench all season, but played 21.4 minutes per contest and is leading his squad in scoring.
His offensive awareness isn't great, and he offers nothing as a passer/ball-handler, combining for just 27 total assists in his 49 games. His main offensive weakness is his lack of a post-game—for how tantalizing his mid-range game is, his lack of any consistency in the post is worrying. He's got excellent length and a fluidity that will translate to the NBA, but he doesn't have the weight nor the inclination to outmuscle opponents in the paint. He has shown he can attack the basket, especially in transition where he has a flair for dunking, but he avoids contact where possible. Hopefully his lack of physical play is due to his lack of muscle.
Defensive Breakdown: With Porzingis' quickness and exceptionally long-arms, it is easy to overexcited about his potential as a shotblocker. He's averaging 1 block a contest, but he'll need to continue to work on his timing. As with most young players, his defensive awareness is lacking, and since he's already outmuscled by most of his opponents, this doesn't bode well for his NBA transition. He's got the tools to become a very versatile defensive weapon, but it's all "what ifs" at this point.
As a rebounder, Porzingis is below average due again to his lack of strength—just 4.5 a contest. His lack of offensive rebounds (1.3) is predictable given his offense is mainly mid-long range shooting at this point, but his defensive rebounding (3.2) is less dismissible for a 7'1 big man. Again, this could be a forgotten criticism as he adds muscle, but he also needs to attack the box-out harder.
Intangibles: On one end, Porzingis loves attacking the basket in transition and can throw down some great dunks. On the other, he's shown a reluctance/unwillingness to battle with bigger opponents defensively or on the glass. The biggest question for Porzingis will be his ability—and willingness—to battle against NBA sized PFs.
While a streach-4 is a desired commodity in the NBA, Porzingis' lack of success in the post is concerning. He'll need to fill out his massive frame and develop some post moves, rather than relying on his lengthy arms and fluid athleticism.
DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony made it clear in his 5/17 podcast that there isn't a danger of Porzingis staying overseas next season.
Fit with Sacramento: It's easy to see why Porzingis is getting more and more attention and hype from the Kings fandom. The combination of his shooting touch and physical gifts make him an intriguing potential fit with DeMarcus Cousins; if the Kings believe the best long-term option is to pair Cousins with a stretch-4, Porzingis could fit the offense beautifully. He runs the floor hard, and loves to attack the basket in transition which would give him an added benefit in the Kings speedy dribble-drive offense. He wouldn't fit the teams' need for another ball-handler, but otherwise the offensive potential would be exciting.
Still, this is a team that has repeatedly reiterated that it wants and expects to contend for a Playoff spot next year, and Porzingis will not help that immediate goal. It's always tough to predict the impact of any rookie (Section has a nice article on this), but I can't believe Porzingis would be a day-one contributor with his small build and lack of toughness in the post. Porzingis' shooting ability might be NBA ready, but he's not going to beat out Jason Thompson when it comes to defense/rebounding.
Porzingis' potential may keep him out of reach of Sacramento regardless, as rumors have been circulating that he is considered a top-three selection—but if he lasts till the Kings pick at No. 6, he becomes a test for Divac and the front office. Would the Kings pass on his potential fit for a more polished, NBA ready player? Would the Kings risk taking another low-impact rookie over players such as Willie Cauley-Stein, Justice Winslow, or Frank Kaminsky? Porzingis is the class' top boom/bust pick, and his potential fit with the Kings offensively adds a ton of intrigue when considering Sacramento's long-term plans.
Personally, I don't see the Kings taking Porzingis (big note here: I said that about Nik Stauskas last year, so order those Porzingis jerseys now!). The front office would have to rationalize using their greatest off-season tool on another project, one who I don't see making an immediate impact outside of his mid-range game. Potentially, the fit could be fantastic, but does the front office have the patience to wait a year (maybe longer) and see how it works? If they do have that patience—who wants to go explain that to DeMarcus Cousins?
It's tough to armchair scout Porzingis to the level of the college players without full-game footage, but check out the always reliable DraftExpress breakdown below. If anyone has full-game footage for Porzingis' team, pass it along!