10 – Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) – Indiana Pacers
Kristaps Porzingis has all of the physical tools to be the next great European player. His 7’0″ frame and 220 pounds are young Dirk Nowitzki like, as well as his skill set. Porzingis is shooting 55 percent from the field for his Eurocup team, and he is lighting it up from three, shooting 46 percent from behind the arc. Porzingis is averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes this season, elite numbers for a prospect. Porzingis will still be just 19 years old on draft night, with plenty of upside for a team willing to use their pick on him.
The Indiana Pacers would be a great fit for Porzingis. In recent years, the Pacers have been limited by their bench. In the 2013 Conference Finals series against the Heat, the Indiana Pacers starters actually outscored the Heat starters, but lost the series because of a big deficit in bench scoring. Porzingis coming off of the bench would completely turn around the Pacers’ bench woes if he figures out the NBA game, and he would add an element of youth to balance the aging veterans on the Pacers like David West, Luis Scola, and Ian Mahinmi. With Roy Hibbert, Porzingis’ three point shot would create much more room in the post for Hibbert, and driving space for the slashers like Paul George, Rodney Stuckey, and Solomon Hill.
For Porzingis, the situation is ideal for him because the Pacers are a contender when Paul George is healthy, and there isn’t pressure for him to be a star in Indiana like there would be on the other Lottery teams. There are plenty of minutes for him if he performs well, any potential rest for Hibbert and West should always be given when a team has a talented player like Porzingis who has the skills to play power forward and the height to play center. Drafting Porzingis also works out well for all parties involved because of the nice timing. The closer the aging veterans West, Scola, and Mahinmi get to retiring, the closer Porzingis is to reaching his prime.