The Hangover: Can Porzingis Be on the Top of the 2015 Draft Class?

This is the Hangover. This is where I get drunk on the NBA as I recap last night’s action as well as a few things going on around the league. Here’s your word vomit.

12/13/2016

THE GAMES

MEM 86 (17-9) @ CLE 103 (18-5)
ORL 131 (11-15) @ ATL 120 (12-13)
MIN 99 (7-18) @ CHI 94 (13-11)
GS 113 (22-4) @ NO 109 (8-18)
NY 111 (14-11) @ PHX 113 (8-17) [OT]
OKC 95 (15-10) @ POR 114 (13-14)

(PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images.)

SO PORZINGIS IS AT THE TOP OF THE 2015 DRAFT CLASS?

We love revisionist history, don’t we?

So I remember the Lakers fans saying that the team should’ve drafted Porzingis with the second overall pick. I’m not much of an NBA draft guy (considering I write about the league so that’s pretty awful of me, right?). But I do remember before June 25, 2015 that the fans wanted Jahlil Okafor because they felt the Lakers needed a big man. And for a long time, the pundits always thought that Karl-Anthony Towns and Okafor were one and two.

Anyway, here’s the draft order:

And the Lakers picked D’Angelo Russell because they needed a guard that would be able to take Kobe Bryant‘s place. The Sixers picked Okafor and then the Knicks picked Porzingis. The Knicks fans booed the pick. And looking back at the mock drafts, Porzingis was mostly in the Top 10 until the last week (when the draftees make strong impressions late).

But the Rookie of the Year race came down to Towns and Porzingis. We found out that Okafor was just a scorer while those two other big guys were super versatile. Porzingis, in particular, was frightening because the dude is 7’3″. But not much was known about him in the American public because he was in Europe.

Anyway, we know Russell struggled out of the gate in his first season but is much better this season after Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant left the team. Okafor is still pretty one-dimensional. Let’s see how the top four players from that class are doing this season.

We all know the Sixers are still struggling as a team and probably won’t break out for a few years. And the future is Joel Embiid. Okafor could be gone from Philly. Russell has been injured but the Lakers did get off to a 10-10 start before the injuries caused the sky to fall on them. While the Timberwolves look good on paper, they’re struggling as well. But Towns is putting up numbers and some “experts” say they would start a franchise with Towns.

It helps that Porzingis has a decent team around him with Carmelo Anthony leading the way. But you’ve seen the skill set of Porzingis. He can go inside and out. He does stepback jumpers. He does putback dunks. He’s not afraid to get physical because of his frame even though the stereotype for Europeans is that they don’t like that sort of thing.

Is Porzingis the top of the class? I think I can answer that question better once he becomes the #1 option for the Knicks. I mean, if the Knicks keep him because you know how their front office has been over the years. We know what Towns can do and, for the time being, he’s the top guy on that draft. But I can’t wait for Porzingis to be the top guy on the Knicks. Then maybe he’ll be the top guy of the 2015 Draft.

THE REST OF THE LEAGUE

Back-to-backs continue to suck. I wanted the Grizzlies’ momentum to keep going but they decided to sit Marc Gasol in their game in Cleveland. The winning streak by Memphis is done but, man, it would’ve been a better contest had Gasol played. Predictably, Cleveland got off to a fast start and never looked back.

They have another game coming up today and the Big Three of the Cavs didn’t even make the trip to Tennessee. So, yes, please cut those back-to-backs out. And the fans feel cheated, too, because the Memphis crowd only sees the Cavs once per season.

Tom Thibodeau‘s return trip to Chicago was a success as they came back from 21 down to beat the Bulls. That has to be satisfying for him. They always deny it and say that it’s “just another game” but we’re human. It’s okay to stick it to an ex. Just say it.

Russell Westbrook didn’t come close to a trip-dub as the Blazers won for the first time in a while. I feel like the middle playoff teams are going to be in for a dogfight the entire season. Everything seems to be evening out below the top teams.

And, lastly, how the heck did the Magic score 131? They can’t score yet they do that against one of the top defensive teams in the Hawks? The NBA is weird.

LINE CROSSER

We mentioned Porzingis. He went for…

34 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals.

Shoutout to Draymond Green for his first triple-double of the season, though.

WATCH THIS PLAY

(VIDEO CREDIT: NBA.)

Taj Gibson picks up the rebound, cried wolf, and then made a wolf cry.


Follow Rey-Rey on Twitter at @TheNoLookPass for all tweets about the NBA and terrible pop music. Also, check out his podcast, Rey-Rey Is Fundamental.

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