Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis will declare for the 2015 NBA draft, his agent Andy Miller, told Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). The 19-year-old is a projected lottery pick, with Ford ranking him as the No. 5 overall prospect and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slotting him at No. 8.
Many NBA scouts and executives opine that Porzingis is the most gifted international player to come along in the past five years, Ford notes. “He’s an athletic, super-skilled seven-footer who can do everything well,” one GM told the ESPN scribe. “I was watching him warm up and had flashbacks to when I saw Pau Gasol take the floor for the first time in Spain, only this kid is much more athletic than Gasol but plays with that same fluidity. I’ve been asking my team since then: Are you sure he’s not the No. 1 guy? Are these guys in college really better than him?”
Another long-time international scout told Ford, “He’s my favorite player in this draft. I keep telling my staff: This one is not like other international players. He’s the real deal. He’s special in all the ways a player can be special. He just needs to get stronger. That’s it. He’s going to be a big-time pro.”
Porzingis is averaging 10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and is shooting 33% from 3-point range in 21 minutes per contest for Baloncesto Sevilla in the Spanish ACB. His numbers are superior in Eurocup play, with the big man logging 11.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and shooting 46% from beyond the arc.