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Kristaps Porzingis, who’s declaring for draft, reportedly has one NBA GM asking: ‘Are you sure he’s not the No. 1 guy’

CCajasol-Obradoiro en San Pablo.

This Nov. 1, 2014 photo provided by Dario de Sevilla shows Kristaps Porzingis trying to shoot past an unidentified defender. Porzingis is a possible pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014 in New York.(AP Photo/Dario de Sevilla, Manuel Gomez)


Kristaps Porzingis steadily climbed 2014 NBA draft boards, probably peaking in the lottery or just outside of it.

Then, surprisingly, he withdrew from the draft.

A year later, he’s back in.

Chad Ford of ESPN:

Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis will declare for the 2015 NBA draft, his agent, Andy Miller, told

“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?”

That’s the highest praise I’ve seen of Porzingis, but it’s not totally above and beyond the conventional wisdom on him.

Porzingis is a good shooter and good athlete, and he’s comfortable both handling the ball and blocking shots. Not many players possess that package.

The 6-foot-11 Porzingis projects as a power forward, but it’s possible he plays some small forward while adding strength – the major knock on him. His finishing and rebounding lag a bit behind, because he’s still too weak.

But Porzingis won’t turn 20 until August, so there’s plenty of time to get stronger. Teams will definitely take a chance on someone with his plusses.

The best thing I can say about Porzingis? He put himself squarely on scouts’ radars last year and is rated even higher this year. That usually goes the other way as scouts get more time to assess flaws. Porzingis must be pretty good if he progressed enough to meet increased expectations.