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And-Ones: Porzingis, Bjelica, Stevens

Projected 2015 lottery pick Kristaps Porzingis indicated that he withdrew from last year’s draft because he felt he wasn’t yet ready to compete in the NBA, Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype relays. “As soon as I declared for the draft, I knew that I wanted I to stay one more year in Spain to get better,” Porzingis said. “Now looking back I think we made the right decision. I had a bad start of the season – individually and as a team. I could have played much better, but I think I have improved my consistency and I have picked it up since the bad start of the season. This season has been tough, but I want to say thanks to coach [Scott] Roth for the work he did with me in Seville. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and I wish him the best.” The seven-footer also indicated that he no longer had doubts regarding entering the NBA, Sierra adds.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • According to Chris Mannix of (Twitter links), two assistant coaches who will be in play this offseason for available head coaching vacancies are the PacersDan Burke, and the HawksKenny Atkinson.
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens has his team ahead of schedule in its rebuilding process, which is a testament to his abilities as a leader, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Stevens stressing unselfishness and creating opportunities for teammates appeals to Boston’s players, Zillgitt adds. “All these guys are in the NBA for a reason, and they’re really, really good at something,” Stevens said. “If you can separate yourself at being one of the best at the things you do well, then you always have a spot where people are going to value you. It just makes sense to a be a superstar in your role.”
  • Former NBA GM and current coach of the Turkish club Eskişehir Basket Brad Greenberg has high praise for Wolves‘ draft-and-stash pick Nemanja Bjelica, David Pick of Basketball Insiders writes. While Greenberg believes Bjelica is ready to play in the NBA, he’s not sure if the big man will head to the U.S. to play in the near future, Pick adds. “Can Bjelica be on an NBA team? Sure. Will he? I don’t know,” Greenberg said. “Like all high-level Euroleague players who make a lot of money overseas, it has to be a situation that makes sense financially, and where he gets an opportunity to play. Europeans don’t want to give up something that is comfortable, good and financially rewarding for a ‘what if?’ situation. Bjelica is talented enough to be in an NBA gym and not look out of place. That’s for sure.

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