Who the heck is Kristaps Porzingis, and has the Thunder made a promise to the 18-year-old Latvian in the NBA Draft?
ESPN.com’s Chad Ford released his latest NBA Draft Big Board on Wednesday and he’s hearing rumors that the Thunder has made a first-round promise to the young power forward — whose draft video says he “combines height, athleticism, length, shot blocking and some unique offensive tools with a developing perimeter-based skill set.”
From Ford’s Big Board:
A few weeks ago it seemed unlikely that Porzingis would keep his name in the draft. The 18-year-old Latvian was projected as a potential top-10 pick next year. But sources now say Porzingis has received a promise from the Thunder to draft him in the first round. There’s no way he’ll be around at 29, so the Thunder’s pick at No. 21 is the target.
Problem is, the Thunder’s first pick of the draft is below where Ford has Porzingis projected.
The question is whether that will be high enough to get him. Porzingis going in the late lottery to mid-first round is no longer a pipe dream for this skilled 7-footer with tremendous upside. With so many teams carrying multiple first-round picks, his range starts with the Magic at No. 12. Plus, the Suns at No. 14, the Bulls at Nos. 16 or 19, and now likely ends with the Thunder at 21.
A little more than a month ago, Porzingis was a surprise to even be in the 2014 draft class. The 6-foot-11, 220 pounder has range and the measureables, but was supposed to be a top 15 pick in the 2015 draft. This season, he only averaged 6.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, a block and 14 minutes per game for Spanish club Cajasol Sevilla this season.
But now he’s a Thunder promise? Who knows. Just watch the tape.