New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, head coach Derek Fisher and executive Mark Warkentien were among dozens of NBA personnel in Las Vegas on Friday to watch top lottery prospect Kristaps Porzingis work out.
Porzingis’ workout was a part of the ASM Sports agency’s “Pro Day.” Fourteen prospects were in the gym, including Texas' Myles Turner and LSU's Jarell Martin. But Porzingis was the headline act.
Most NBA teams had employees at the workout on Friday. But the idea that Jackson, Fisher and Warkentein were all on hand to watch Porzingis in person suggests the Knicks are at least considering him for the No. 4 pick in the draft.
SI.com reported that Knicks adviser Clarence Gaines Jr. scouted the 19-year-old Porzingis in person during his season with Sevilla in the ACB, arguably the best domestic league outside of the NBA.
Porzingis hit 54 percent of his two-point shots and 38 percent of his 3-point shots for Sevilla. Scouts believe he’s capable of duplicating or surpassing those shooting numbers in the NBA. Defense and overall strength are a concern at this point for Porzingis though, scouts say.
For a detailed look at how Porzingis may fit in the triangle offense and alongside Anthony, click here.
The Knicks have already worked out potential top picks Emmanuel Mudiay and Justise Winslow in person. D'Angelo Russell told reporters that he has a workout scheduled with the Knicks. It is not yet clear, though, when the workout will take place.
The Knicks also plan to work out Arizona forward Stanley Johnson on Saturday. The workout had been scheduled for Friday but was later rescheduled.
The Knicks had also planned a workout with Murray State point guard Cameron Payne, but the two sides have been unable to find a common date to this point.
League sources with knowledge of the Knicks’ thinking said earlier this week that the team would give “serious” consideration to trading down to select Payne.
Those sources said that segments of the team’s front office and scouting department were impressed by the point guard.
Teams have drafted players without working them out in person in the past, of course. But the lack of an in-person workout with Payne suggests the Knicks scouts and front office members who were enamored by the player were met with resistance from other team decision-makers.