Kristaps Porzingis, a 6’11” Latvian player who was projected by many to be a top-20 pick this year, withdrew from the 2014 NBA Draft Sunday according to his agent, Larry Miller:
. . . Miller said that Porzingis was concerned he wasn’t ready to make the transition to the NBA, wanted to return to Sevilla in Spain to continue developing and was confident he could go even higher in the 2015 NBA draft.
“He’s very talented. He wasn’t ready, but we would’ve seriously considered drafting him anyway,” one NBA general manager told ESPN. “If he continues to develop his game, get more minutes and his body develops, I think he could be a top-five pick in 2015. He has that kind of talent.”
This surprising news could have an impact on the Boston Celtics, since ESPN’s Chad Ford had the Cs using the 17th pick in Mock Draft 7.0 on Porzingis.(I noticed the folks over at Liberty Ballers also had Boston nabbing Porzingis.) Here was Ford’s reasoning:
General manager Danny Ainge has two picks and can afford to gamble on one of them. At 7 feet with both athleticism and a nice shooting touch, there’s tons of upside for Porzingis. He’s just a couple of years away.
While Porzingis is clearly one of those “unfinished product” players, NBA scouts love his mixture of size and athleticism, and envision him as a potential stretch four. I’m sure Boston loved his defensive promise, as well, since the Cs were carved up in the paint all season long. Sadly, if Boston was thinking of drafting this kid, they may be out of luck, unless they plan on landing in the lottery again next year: now that he is off the board until 2015, Porzingis suddenly finds himself a projected top-ten pick.