The Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers will pick No. 2 and No. 3 overall, respectively, in the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25. Both teams are reportedly interested in a relatively unknown player from Latvia named Kristaps Porzingis.
Marc Stein of ESPN confirmed on Twitter that Porzingis’ draft stock is rising, with both the 76ers and Lakers taking a hard look at him as their top rookie selection. According to another tweet, this time from Chad Ford of ESPN, New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson also watched one of Porzingis' workouts.
Draft scuttle: Hearing Porzingis not only in play for Philly at No. 3 but now giving Lakers something to ponder at No. 2. Stock rising fast
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 13, 2015
How big of a draw is Porzingis? Even Phil Jackson traveled to Vegas to see him. Porzongis, Turner, Martin & Christmas just took the court
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 12, 2015
The 19-year-old big man, who is from Liepaja, Latvia, is listed at 6-foot-11 and is a former member of the Latvian youth national team. As a teenager, he already played in Europe pro leagues, suiting up for Cajasol Sevilla and Baloncesto Sevilla from 2012 to 2014. He received the Eurocup Eurocup Rising Star, awarded to the league’s top young player, in 2015.
In the 2014-2015 season for Baloncesto Sevilla, he averaged 11 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in 50 games. While the numbers don’t jump out like those of other projected lottery picks, he remains an intriguing prospect for any NBA scout.
Porzingis previously declared for the 2014 NBA Draft but withdrew his name then. That decision now looks very sound as he’s projected to be an early selection in various mock drafts: Nbadraft.net and draftexpress.com has Porzingis at No. 3; cbssports.com has him at No. 5 and No. 8; and hoopshype.com has him at No. 6.
Other top prospects in the 2015 NBA Draft are Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay.