Kristaps Porzingis, a lanky and narrow 7-foot-1, 220-pound stretch power forward, unquestionably stands as one of, if not the most intriguing prospect in the entire 2015 NBA Draft. His fluidity and seemingly endless range as a shooter is an extreme rarity for someone of Porzingis size, which has aided in his recent rise on numerous NBA Draft big boards. Draft Express has even slotted Porzingis as the No. 3 overall prospect on their latest big board, behind only Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor. This ranking led to DX paring Porzingis with the Philadelphia 76ers in their latest mock draft.
For all of Porzingis current strengths, such as his quick release and exceptional shooting touch from practically anywhere, considerably mobility for his size and rim protection when he’s locked in, what makes Porzingis such an intriguing prospect is his upside, which stems from his countless weaknesses. Porzingis has already proven to be a special talent overseas in the EuroCup and ACB, regardless of some limited statistical bragging rights with only 11 points and 4.6 boards per game, but the multitude of areas in which Porzingis can and likely will improve in has led to general managers salivating over the seven foot product lately.
Outside of his shooting touch and naturally impressive length, there’s much left to be desired with Porzingis.
Despite being a towering power forward, Porzingis is pretty limited to a stretch role and nothing more at this point, due to his lack of strength and toughness down on the block. Offensively, Porzingis tries to avoid going down low in exchange for his silky jumper, while on defense, he’s often getting pushed around and out of position with relative ease, even by considerably smaller defenders at times. Porzingis has shown the ability to affectively crash the boards, but overall, he’s a below-average rebounder. Additionally, Porzingis doesn’t really have a great feel for the game right now, and that’s on both ends of the court.
Yes, these are all very fixable issues and in the right system under the right coaches, it’s quite possible that Porzingis could one day live up to all of his recent hype and praise, but that system and those coaches shouldn’t be the ones in Philadelphia.
Between a potential cornerstone in Joel Embiid and a very likely future Defensive Player of the Year in the springy Nerlens Noel, as well as the anticipated arrival of overseas power forward Dario Saric, there’s simply no need for Porzingis in Philly. Even with the potential logjam that would occur with a healthy Embiid and Saric in town, it’s likely that Philly would consider Towns or Okafor with the third pick if they were available, and it would be understandable with their polished offensive game. But one thing both have is far fewer holes in their game and nearly a sure-bet, aside from potential injuries that their offensive game will translate to the NBA with ease. Porzingis doesn’t have that and when you consider the Sixers current depth in the paint and desperate need for a star-caliber floor general when two will likely be available, there’s simply no reason for Philly to gamble on yet another high-risk, high-reward prospect at a position they’ve already filled quite nicely.
Even with all of the recent hype and Philly’s reported interest in Porzingis, it wouldn’t be anything short of a huge surprise to see Porzingis as a Sixer on June 25.