With the seventeenth pick in the two-thousand-and-fourteen Liberty Ballers National Basketball Association Mock Draft, the Boston Celtics select a player that you probably haven't heard of until now. That player is none other than Latvian professional basketball player
BLARK Kristaps Porziņģis.
Porziņģis is only 18 years old but stands tall at 7'0", 215 lbs. He plays for CB Sevilla at the Liga ACB (Spain). He currently ranks as the 23rd overall prospect in DX's Top 100. Full scouting report via Draft Express:
Porzingis is extremely athletic for a player his size. He runs the floor well, is very mobile, and plays above the rim with ease. His big, long strides allow him to cover a huge amount of ground, as you often see him running stride for stride with players much smaller than him, which helps him as a rim-runner in transition and defensively on the pick and roll.
Porzingis shows intriguing versatility offensively, as he has a unique skill-set that allows him to operate comfortably facing the basket. He has good shooting mechanics and range that extends out to the 3-point line, even if he is not a consistent shooter at this point in time. He's also a good ball-handler, being capable of taking his man off the dribble with either hand from the high post or beyond the 3-point line.
I have to admit, I had help from SB Nation's Boston basketball site CelticsBlog on this one. Apparently some of the writers are really big on him over there. Here's what CB's Kevin O'Connor (no relation to LB's Sean O'Connor, I think) had to say about the 18 year old international prospect.
The player with the highest upside at this point in the draft is Kristaps Porzingis. With so many picks in the coming years, the Celtics can "draft-and-stash" Porzingis and reap the rewards in the future. Porzingis has huge potential as a stretch big man that can also protect the paint. Although there's a chance he decides to stay in Europe for another year, he could potentially be a Top 10 pick in 2015, so there is great value here.
ESPN's Chad Ford has also had Porziņģis connected to Boston's second first round pick in some of his recent mock drafts for what it's worth.
This pick makes sense for Boston because, like the Sixers, they have the luxury of not having to draft an NBA ready player. They can take the player with the most upside and stash him overseas while he develops. Between this pick and the selection of Aaron Gordon at No. 6 earlier in the LB NBA Mock, Boston is armed with an interesting front court for the future. Who needs Kevin Love anyway?
Next up is probably the best team not to make the playoffs: the Phoenix Suns. Rich Hofmann will be revealing his pick for them tomorrow.