Kristaps Porziņģis (born August 2, 1995) is a Latvian professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected by the Knicks with the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft. While being brought up in Liepāja, Latvia, Porziņģis started out his career with youth teams in his hometown before trying out and making the Baloncesto Sevilla youth squads. Following multiple years with the junior teams of Sevilla and representing them in Nike International Junior Tournaments, he was promoted to the senior squad. Porziņģis competed with the Latvia youth national team at the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship.
On April 28, 2014, Porziņģis declared himself eligible for the 2014 NBA draft. Before and after he made the decision, he drew interest from National Basketball Association (NBA) teams such as the Orlando Magic, who held the 12th overall pick, and traveled to Europe to scout him. The Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly were certainly going to select him with the 21st pick in the case that he remained. Porziņģis was considered an unfinished product and a top-15 draft pick. According to DraftExpress.com, he was the fourth-youngest prospect in their top-100 rankings. Shortly before the day of the draft, however, he withdrew his name. Porziņģis’s agent Andy Miller released the information to ESPN, saying that his client did not feel prepared to become a part of the NBA and wanted to develop his skills until the 2015 draft. One of the league’s general managers commented on him, “He’s very talented. He wasn’t ready, but we would’ve seriously considered drafting him anyway. If he continues to develop his game, get more minutes and his body develops, I think he could be a top-five pick in 2015. He has that kind of talent.”
On April 16, 2015, Porziņģis entered the 2015 NBA draft, according to a report from agent Andy Miller. After gaining a season more of experience, he became known as a lottery pick and a potential top-5 selection. He drew interest from teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, who had the No. 2 pick and had several personnel that had seen Porziņģis play in Spain.
Career highlights and awards
NBA All-Rookie First Team (2016)
NBA Skills Challenge champion (2017)
EuroCup Rising Star (2015)
2× ACB All-Young Players Team (2014, 2015)