The Sacramento Kings sent a group of executives to Las Vegas yesterday to scout the 7’0", 19-year old Latvian prospect Kristaps Porzingis. What constitutes as a ‘Kings executive’ these days is anyone’s guess, but Jason Jones reported that the Kings would have representation at the workout.
Porzingis will not be working out for teams individually, and thus every NBA team sent scouts to Vegas to get a look at the Latvian basketball phenom. By all accounts, he knocked it out of the park.
This smells a little like the now-infamous Yi Jianlian vs. chair workout from several offseasons ago, but there are plenty of videos of Porzingis’ Vegas workout out there, and it is impressive. Draft Express has the most thorough video, but they do not allow embedding, so you’ll have to click here to watch it. It’s worth checking out.
He has a very unique handle and smoothness for a player his size. Everything he does looks smooth. A lot of 7-footers have a sort of robotic way about them. They look stiff, and their movement can be slow and disjointed. Porzingis doesn’t have this issue, and that alone makes him an intriguing prospect. He needs to add weight, and his defensive ability is kind of a question mark at this point, but his offensive potential is off the charts.
When I say he knocked his workout out of the park, I mean, he really knocked it out of the park. I haven’t seen scouts gushing about a player’s ability like this for quite some time. It’s been nothing but universal praise by all of your typical ‘draft insiders' who attended.
Here's more video from the Porzingis workout. He's incredible. Many GMs walked away saying he's a Top 2 talent pic.twitter.com/4BMDhzO0IW— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 13, 2015
It should be noted that Draft Express’ latest mock draft has Porzingis going 3rd to the Philadelphia 76ers, and this was before his workout. He is shooting up draft boards, and that is a good thing for the Kings.
I’m still firmly behind drafting Willie Cauley-Stein with the 6th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, and whatever prospect that can distract the teams above the Kings from Cauley-Stein is doing them a favor.
If Porzingis goes third like Draft Express suggests, I’d imagine that takes the Knicks out of the Cauley-Stein race. They’d be extremely happy to grab D’Angelo Russell, who recently cancelled a workout with the 76ers. The Orlando Magic are still going to cause the Kings some trouble. That is a perfectly plausible Cauley-Stein destination, but considering the fact that Orlando already has a defensive prospect in the frontcourt in Aaron Gordon, would they draft frontcourt defense again? Of course, Gordon and Cauley-Stein are wildly different defenders, but Orlando has drafted defenders with their last three first round draft picks, and some offensive help would make sense.
Porzingis makes the most sense in Orlando, but coming off of this workout it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the board. Justise Winslow and Mario Hezonja should be options to replace versatile swingman Tobias Harris if he leaves in free agency, and Hezonja in particular makes sense for a team needing a dynamic offensive player.
I am still nervous about Orlando, to say the least. If a team is going snag Cauley-Stein before the Kings have the option to draft him, I’m willing to bet it’ll be Orlando.
Of course, Porzingis should be viewed as a legitimate option for the Kings if he happens to slide past 5th. His perceived status as a ‘project’ player is slowly starting to wear, and while I don’t doubt the Kings would rather select a player who will make an immediate impact, it would be hard to pass on Porzingis at this point. Especially if two of the players they are reportedly targeting, Justise Winslow, and Willie Cauley-Stein, are gone.
Porzingis was the star of yesterday’s workout in Vegas, but the Kings also saw Chris McCullough, Christian Wood, Jarell Martin, Michael Frazier III, Myles Turner, and Rakeem Christmas, among others. I wouldn’t expect any of these players to be in serious contention for the Kings 6th overall pick, but there are some decent prospects in that group, and players like Jarell Martin and Myles Turner could make sense as trade down options.
The draft is still 12 days away. Expect more posturing.