NBA Draft 2017: New Jersey Nets Hope Anzejs Pasecniks Could Be Their Own Kristaps Porzingis

By Joe Bacaron, Posted: 05/16/17 06:54PM EDT

After ending with the worst record in the league, the New Jersey Nets are looking at the talented center from Spanish team Herbalife Gran Canaria for help. However, they could be forgiven considering that Anzejs Pasecniks has been drawing comparisons to fellow Latvian, New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis.

A report from NYPost quoted ESPN international analyst Fran Fraschilla as saying that the 7-2 center-while a late bloomer-is really coming along in the Spanish league because of his height and athleticism. "I don't want to say he's Porzingis, but he's a reasonable facsimile. I don't want to give the impression he's unathletic, because he's not," Fraschilla said. "He gives you length, he gives you shooting, he can protect the rim a little bit. He's in that sweet spot."

Pasecniks remains a prospect for now because even with all his gifts, he only averages 7.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in the Liga ACB and Eurocup. In contrast, Porzingis averaged 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in the same league.

But with consistent minutes, the 21-year-old bumped his scoring to 14.0 per game on over 67% shooting in recent weeks. He also shone on defense after swatting five shots a game, said the report.

However, the Nets have high hopes about their prospect considering that Porzingis really blossomed in a Knicks uniform where he's averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the 2016-2017 season. The Nets had the first pick in the NBA Draft 2017 but that pick went to the Boston Celtics.

Nevertheless, they still have a crack at Pasecniks if he's still available at 22nd pick. The only snag to their plan is that the Atlanta Hawks are also reportedly interested in drafting the young prospect. The problem is the Hawks, at 19th place, get to pick earlier than the Nets.

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