With the sixth pick, the Kings select…(pt. 2)
Kristaps Porzingis – PF, Baloncesto Sevilla
Size: 7-foot-1, 220 pounds
2014-15 ACB, Eurocup stats: 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, 1.3 turnovers in 21.5 minutes (49 games).
Why he fits
Porzingis is the polar opposite of his fellow countryman Andris Biedrins, who at 28-years-old was out of the league last year. The younger Latvian features a textbook shooting stroke with range, and at his height it’s nearly impossible to contest. The Sacramento Kings are desperate for competent stretch fours so Porzingis could help as a spot-up weapon immediately.
The big man is incredibly fluid for a 7-footer, capable of running the floor effortlessly and using his first step to beat perimeter defenders off the dribble. More importantly, Porzingis is laterally quick enough to hold his own guarding slower forwards on the perimeter.
At 19, Porzingis has barely scratched his athletic potential and the Kings could have a superstar on their hands. New Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac can do much worse than drafting the next international face of the team.
Why he doesn’t fit
Sashimi is raw, and then there’s Porzingis. Aside from his tools mentioned, the project has serious holes in his game.
Porzingis enforces the European stereotype of soft bigs. The teenager avoids tussling down low, and he’s a mediocre rebounder for his height and leaping ability. Porzingis isn’t physical enough to defend NBA low-post centers, and he’ll need to add weight regardless. He’s also a poor passer, which is bad news for a Sacramento team in need of playmakers.
In three years, Porzingis may round these issues out, but the Kings don’t have that time. The new arena opens in fall 2016, and a roster still struggling could mean less butts in the seats.
Likelihood he’s available
Coin toss. Porzingis is the best international frontcourt prospect in years, and NBA clubs are warming up to taking foreigners in the high lottery. It only takes one general manager to fall in love with his stratospheric ceiling, and with the Knicks and Magic rumored to be fishing their picks, a club could swoop in front of the Kings to land their man.