As of late, the Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly promised Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia, with one of their two first round picks. While it may seem strange to promise players that they will be drafted, the Thunder have set a precedent with this in regards to both Reggie Jackson as well as Steven Adams.
Chad Ford of ESPN Insider writes:
A few weeks ago it seemed unlikely that Porzingis would keep his name in the draft. The 18-year-old Latvian was projected as a potential top-10 pick next year. But sources now say Porzingis has received a promise from the Thunder to draft him in the first round. There's no way he'll be around at 29, so the Thunder's pick at No. 21 is the target. The question is whether that will be high enough to get him. Porzingis going in the late lottery to mid-first round is no longer a pipe dream for this skilled 7-footer with tremendous upside.
Who exactly is Porzingis?
Porzingis is a center from Latvia who pays for Cajasol in the ACB League overseas. Averaging 6.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1 block in 14 minutes, Porzingis is a work in progress by all means. But while 90 percent of draftees are developing as they take that next step, Kristaps has the skills and size to make a splash in the NBA sooner than expected.
As a projected top 10 pick in the 2015 draft, the 18 year old entered earlier than expected, yet the Thunder are still keeping their eye on him. Porzingis is notorious overseas for his shot blocking and defensive upside. His offense is versatile, he can hit a jump shot, and owns a smooth inside game. Out of the big men in the 2014 draft, he is one of the better offensive players. Physically he is 7'0'' tall with a weight of 220 lbs. In order to compete with the massive centers in the NBA, he needs to hit the gym and gain some muscle mass....keep in mind he is just 18.
As for his offensive potential, he can be developed into a multi-threat from the three point line to the paint. He already runs the pick and pop well.