NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Latvia PF Kristaps Porzingis
|05.19.14 at 9:00 am ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.
Position: Power forward
Weight: 220 pounds
Wingspan: Over 7-foot
Key 2013-14 stats: 6.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 14.0 minutes
Scouting report: Porzingis is a 7-footer who brings incredible potential as a shot blocker, defender and 3-point shooter. It’s hard to understand why he’s not a consensus lottery pick, though it may be due to his slight frame. But that’s hogwash. One needs just a look at a photo of Joakim Noah at age 18 to see that Porzingis has the same exact build as he did at that age.
Not to say that Porzingis will be a Defensive Player of the Year like Noah, but any concerns about his body should permanently be put to bed, considering his extremely wide frame — ideal for adding muscle — is a positive, not a negative.
Porzingis is attractive as a prospect because his skills are perfect for the modern stretch big man. He struggles with consistency from 3-point range (34.2 percent), but has excellent mechanics and looks silky smooth when spotting up in transition or halfcourt. As a bonus, Porzingis is quite athletic and can finish strong at the rim in transition. Once he adds muscle, it’s reasonable to assume he will make his way onto the SportsCenter Top 10 with some loud dunks.
At only 18 years old, Porzingis already is one of the better individual defenders in Spain’s ACB, arguably the second-best basketball league in the world. Cajasol was an average defense team (104.5 DRtg), but the team was better when Porzingis was on the floor (101.0 DRtg).
The Latvian 7-footer has a long way to go as a threat on the post, as a passer and on the boards, but for a (currently) underweight teenager playing in a league full of grown men, his production is exceptional. He’ll be a “draft-and-stash,” but the rewards could be bountiful in the coming years. In terms of value, Porzingis could be the steal of the draft, especially if he isn’t a lottery pick.
How he fits: Porzingis would provide the Celtics with a potential rim protector once he adds muscle to his wide frame, but in the short term, his aptitude for scoring would provide the team a boost. It’s difficult to slot Porzingis’ draft positioning, but he’s a possible top-10 talent who could slip to the 17th pick.
Eurohopes: Kristaps Porzingis profile
Video: Here is a video scouting report of Porzingis.