Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis will declare for the 2015 NBA draft, his agent, Andy Miller, told ESPN.com.
Porzingis is averaging 10.3 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and is shooting 33 percent from 3 in 21 minutes for his team Baloncesto Sevilla in the Spanish ACB. His numbers have been even better in Eurocup play, averaging 11.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and shooting 46 percent from 3.
Porzingis burst onto the NBA draft scene about this time last year when he declared for the 2014 NBA draft. As NBA teams scrambled to get to Spain to watch him play, they became enamored with his rare combination of size, athleticism, ability to protect the rim and shooting range. Porzingis rose from an obscure draft-and-stash late first-rounder into the late lottery before ultimately deciding to withdraw from the 2014 draft and try again this year.
It looks like it was a good move. Porzingis has been ranked in the top five all year on our 2015 Big Board and should be drafted in the three-to-six range in June, according to multiple NBA general managers and scouts.
Many NBA scouts and executives feel the 7-footer is the most gifted international player to come along in the past five years.
"He's an athletic, super-skilled 7-footer who can do everything well," one GM said. "I was watching him warm up and had flashbacks to when I saw Pau Gasol take the floor for the first time in Spain, only this kid is much more athletic than Gasol but plays with that same fluidity. I've been asking my team since then: Are you sure he's not the No. 1 guy? Are these guys in college really better than him?"
Porzingis needs to get stronger and is still figuring out his ultimate position, but Europeans with his size, explosiveness and skill sets don't come along very often.
Another long-time international scout said, "He's my favorite player in this draft. I keep telling my staff: This one is not like other international players. He's the real deal. He's special in all the ways a player can be special. He just needs to get stronger. That's it. He's going to be a big-time pro."