2015 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Kristaps Porzingis

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Whether or not Joel Embiid‘s apparent setback in his recovery from a broken right foot affects the Sixers draft plans is something we may never find out. What we do know is that Sam Hinkie and his staff have committed to a draft strategy of selecting the best player available and figuring out where to go from there. Talent and potential seems to trump all when it comes to the current regime’s plan and it’s tough to imagine they’ll stray from that approach, regardless of how severe Embiid’s situation may be.

As is normally the case in the weeks leading up to every draft, there tends to be at least one prospect who rockets up draft boards out of nowhere to throw a wrench into what some consider ‘conventional wisdom’. In 2015, that individual is Latvian sensation Kristaps Porzingis. Aided by his sensational workouts and the element of mystery, not to mention a ceiling that has some scouts calling him ‘the best prospect in the draft’, Porzingis is the flavor of ‘silly season’ and the Sixers happen to come up quite often in discussions about a potential landing spot.

Every draft season that rolls along, scouts and executives scour the globe searching for the next Dirk Nowitzki, often ending up instead with the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili. That being said, as the game continues to evolve on the international scale and prospects like Porzingis incorporate more of an NBA style into his game, the success rate of foreign prospects should increase by a steady clip. Those willing to do the background work on Porzingis know he speaks fluent English, understands the league he is about to enter, and genuinely believes he is destined for success at the NBA level.

Porzingis has seen his stock skyrocket in recent weeks, in part because of his camp’s strategy of playing up the intrigue factor of the 7’1″ teenager. Rather than working out for a handful of teams drafting in towards the top of the lottery, Porzingis has limited his exposure to a couple of showcase-style workouts both in Brooklyn and Las Vegas. These are settings that best highlight a prospect like Porzingis’s best attributes while limiting teams from being able to dissect his game too much. Bust or not, Porzingis has earned himself quite a bit of coin in recent weeks.

To his credit, Porzingis did average respectable numbers in the Spanish ACB league putting up: 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.9 steals, and 1.0 blocks in 21.4 minutes of work. One of the major criticisms of European prospects is their sometimes minuscule stat-line, which often comes as a result of limited minutes. Even in a less-than-healthy clip, Porzingis’s numbers are pretty solid, all things considering. Between a strong showing in one of the world’s most competitive leagues and a strategic approach by his representation, Porzingis is the guy everyone wants to know about and possibly even roll the dice with a top-five pick on him. Could that mean a potential arrival in Philadelphia for ‘Zingy’?