After deciding to withdraw from the 2014 NBA draft, Latvian sensation Krsitaps Porzingis returns this year with a chance to go even higher than he might have earlier. Prior to the 2014 draft, Porzingis reportedly was given a promise by the Orlando Magic to be selected with their second lottery pick. However, Porzingis decided that wasn't good enough, going back to Spain to play for Sevilla for one more season.
Fast forward a year and the 7-foot Porzingis is shooting up Draft boards, thanks to strong play for Sevilla, along with an impressive workout last week in Las Vegas. Once projected to be a mid- to late- lottery pick, Porzingis' name has now been thrown around to go as high as number two to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Porzingis offers a skill set that is growing every so important in the ever-evolving NBA. His ability to step out and space the floor, along with being able to defend the rim, is becoming important for any big man in the league. His particular skill set it one that only few players in today's NBA possess, which make him an even more interest prospect moving forward.
While Porzingis has a lot of strengths to his game, he has some potential red flags as well. At 7-feet and just 230 pounds, Porzingis has a relatively thin frame, which would give him problems defending some of the bigger power forwards in the NBA. He'll undoubtedly grow into his body more, but Magic team that needs a player who can make an immediate impact, can't afford to wait for Porzingis to be ready.
Moreover, Porzingis is still relatively raw in multiple areas of his game. While he's shown an ability to be a solid defender -- as is evident by his 1.5 steals two blocks per-40 minutes average-- he has a tendency to shy away from contact and not be as physical and you may want a key big man to be.
Outside of his shortcomings on the defensive end, Porzingis needs to become a better, and more willing passer. Per DraftExpress, Porzingis has just 41 assists in his last 1813 minutes played, which spans three years and four different competitions. That number equates to a mere assist per every 44 minutes played.
The tantalizing big man also has to work on his post game more, showing off few back-to-the-basket skills up to this point. He has a tendency to stay out of the paint, which may not hurt the Magic, given their need for spacing, but it's also an issue. If his shot isn't falling, how can he help the offense? It would arguably hurt Orlando more to have someone out there not making an impact in any way on the offensive end, even if the floor had more space.
Obviously the big caveat with Porzingis, along with many prospects now, is the fact that he's still just 19 years old. He has overseas professional experience, which could help shorten his learning curve some once he does finally make it into the NBA.
His skill set is one that the Magic could definitely use. He would fit next to center Nikola Vucevic, who appears to be in the cards for the long-term with his four-year contract extension kicking in starting next season, and give space for guards Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton to navigate. Selecting Porzingis would also lead to the Magic likely keeping Tobias Harris, who, if he continues to improve as a three-point shooter, would be another big piece for the Magic in the long run.
The trick now for the Magic is waiting and seeing if Porzingis does in fact fall past the Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks at two, three, and four, respectively.
If he does, they need to make him their pick.