Kristaps Porzingis – Get to know him

Kristaps Porzingis will be enticing prospect for a lot of teams. (Photo credit to
Kristaps Porzingis will be enticing prospect for a lot of teams. (Photo credit to

Kristaps Porzingis. I don’t know him, nor do I know how to pronounce his name. Despite the lack of knowledge, he, like Mario Hezonja, will become an increasingly intriguing prospect as we move closer to the NBA draft.

Here are my thoughts.

I have to give DraftExpress the credit they deserve. They do a very good job at highlighting strengths and weaknesses of prospects. I wish they would have done a video on me when I came out of college.

By looking at the 7-foot-1 Porzingis, he instantly reminded me of Andrea Bargnani.

That’s not a good thing.

Bargnani was the No. 1 pick of the Toronto Raptors in the 2006 draft. I would consider him a huge bust, as a lot of other people would too, I’m sure.

I hope Porzingis doesn’t end up like Bargnani.

Porzingis’ numbers aren’t spectacular, but I have to remind people Euro-ball is completely different from the NBA.

He is only 19-years old and won’t turn 20 until Aug. 2. He is a very long and skinny player. He isn’t physically imposing, by any means, and fits the “European players are soft” stereotype. I figured it out by looking at him.

He gets banged around on defense, especially in the post, and lacks a real feel for the game. Being so skinny, it’s hard for him to post up against smaller, stronger players because his legs are relatively weak. He will get pushed and banged around during a game. Because of that, he will shy away from contact or fadeaway if he feels any presence of pressure.

Those are some of the glaring negatives DraftExpress pointed out during his highlight tape, and I found similar things from watching a few other videos of his.

But I believe there are most positives than negatives for this teenager from Latvia.

He has a very nice shooting motion. There is little-to-no wasted movement in his mechanics. Of course, on highlight tapes a person is only shown the makes. I searched YouTube to see if there were any videos of him strictly missing jumpers. I had no success.

He shoots very well for a big man, and does it very smoothly. He is not in the realm of Dirk Nowitzki, in terms of shooting, but I could see him ending up being like Donatas Motiejunas, who is a good shooter in his own right.. He is very good at shooting on the move, and I was very surprised at how good he was at making shots coming off screens. It was very impressive for a big man.

How many people remember Detlef Schrempf? He was an absolutely tremendous shooter. He also averaged 3.4 assists per game for his career. I think Porzingis could become something between Nowitzki and Schrempf, in terms of shooting. I can’t get too crazy by saying Porzingis will be more Nowitzki than Schrempf, but I do think he could turn out something close to Schrempf.

Of course, though, he could never pan out and end up like Nikoloz Tskitishvili.

He was the fifth pick of the Denver Nuggets in the 2002 NBA draft, and lasted only fours seasons and played on four teams. He was hailed as the “next Dirk Nowitzki” by Kiki Vandeweghe. Vandeweghe helped groom Nowitzki and he thought he would be a genius if he could do the same thing with Tskitishvili. “Skita,” as they called him, had “unbelievable upside” according to Mike D’Antoni.

It was an unfortunate situation for the Nuggets, but a price they deserved to pay. They never saw him in a live game before selecting him.

Because so many teams have gotten burned by European players before, teams now have full-time scouts overseas.

Gee, taking someone’s word, especially D’Antoni’s, at face value isn’t worth anything today?

I really believe that Porzingis could develop into a suitable NBA player, and maybe even a starter. Like most draft picks, he needs to go to the right organization, one with stability and opportunity. I hope he is a mid-to-late-er first round pick. In the low teens or high 20’s.

Most people believe he could be a nice fit for the San Antonio Spurs. Denver will be in the lottery, but more than likely it will have a top 10 pick, and I believe that’s too high for Porzingis. I don’t know if Denver wants to risk another high draft pick on a player who isn’t a finished product.

A team like the Dallas Mavericks would be interesting. Everybody knows Nowitzki will retire soon, so could Porzingis be his successor? Also, I think Portland could be a practical destination. The Trail Blazers already have a solid core, despite possibly losing LaMarcus Aldridge to free agency. They love to shoot three-pointers, and I think he could eventually fit in there.

The last team, in my opinion, would be the Washington Wizards. Nene is under contract for next season, but I don’t believe the Wizards are looking to keep him, especially for $13 million a year. John Wall and Porzingis would be a nice pick-and-pop combination.

In the end, I think Porzingis has a chance to become a solid basketball player.

Only one question will need answering.

Will he pan out?


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