2015 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Kristaps Porzingis

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Prospect Overview: 

Measurements (courtesy of Draftexpress.com): 7’0″, 230 lbs, 8/2/1995 (19 years old)

Unlike most of his draft-mates, Kristaps Porzingis has been playing professionally for a good portion of his teenage/adult life already. Given the fact that there isn’t a European equivalent of division-I college basketball as a feeder for the NBA, the top talents overseas often saddle up with a professional team for several years before eventually making the decision of whether or not to bring their talents to America. Porzingis’s case is no different. Here’s some insight on that, courtesy of Draftexpress.com’s profile on him.

"“Porzingis was discovered in Latvia in 2010 when he was 15-years old and already 6-8. Despite his youth, he moved to Spain to sign with Cajasol Sevilla, where he’s been playing for four years already. He’s grown significantly through the years and is now listed as being 7-feet tall. In addition to his tremendous size he also sports a very long wingspan and a frame that looks like it can carry plenty of weight as he matures physically…Sevilla’s highly respected head coach Aito Garcia Reneses (ex-Spanish national team and Ricky Rubio’s coach in Joventut) seems to like him quite a bit, as he gives him plenty of freedom to operate from the perimeter and make creative decisions with the ball, which is not exactly common at this level of European basketball for a player his age. Porzingis has been averaging a steady 15 minutes per game all season long, sometimes even seeing the floor with the game in the balance against Sevilla’s toughest opponents, which is invaluable experience.”"

Unlike Dario Saric, Porzingis withdrew his name from last year’s draft pool prior to the deadline to do so. However, he did manage to land himself on the radar of several front office personnel who started keeping a close watch on the towering Latvian product. Though some speculated, including the Sixers reportedly, that Porzingis could have been a top-15 pick last year, his decision to wait until 2015 clearly paid off.

In an article scribed by Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, a side of Porzingis that may have scouts thinking he could be different from the Darko Milicic’s of the world was revealed.

"Out of Latvia and the Spanish ACB League, Porzingis peels away the mystery with a determined disposition and an earnest, natural curiosity. Ask him about the most appealing part of what awaits him in the NBA – the luxuries of a lifestyle that come with the stature of a lofty lottery pick – and you’ll get the longings of a 19-year-old European gym rat. “The biggest thing for me – the thing that I think most about – is that you can get into the gym whenever you want here,” Porzingis told Yahoo Sports over dinner recently. “They give you a card, or a key, and in the middle of the night, if you want to work out, you just go to the gym and get your work in – and I think that’s amazing. “In Europe, you don’t have that option. You can’t get your work in on a Sunday, because nobody is there. I think that’s one of the coolest things. This year, I didn’t have a place to play. I’ve got to talk to the GM, to talk one of the people who work in the arena to open the door for me. People don’t want to do extra work at the arena.” So Porzingis laid awake in his bedroom in Sevilla, Spain, and thought to himself, “’When I’m sleeping, someone else is working out.’ I’d think that I better get in my work the next day, because I’m already behind.” Among the NBA executives who’ve spent the time to research Porzingis – some made five trips to scout him this season and made trips a year ago too – they’ve come to understand how deeply he cares about growing his game, his talents."

In his interview with Draftexpress.com’s Jonathan Givony, one gets a very real feel for how advanced Porzingis is in his preparation for life in the NBA and trying to buck the trend that others before him have made a ‘norm’.

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Were it not for the advancements in social media and the evolution of the international pool of NBA prospects, this type of insight would not be at someone with limited access’s (me) disposal. Though I have never had any sort of interaction with Porzingis and probably couldn’t uncover the type of intel Wojnarowski and Givony did, that doesn’t mean what they’ve collected shouldn’t be used to get a better idea of what led to Porzingis being such an intriguing individual.