Bobby Marks who was with the Nets until a few weeks ago is now on the talk show circuit. He spoke with ESPN's Ian O'Connor Sunday about the upcoming draft --the top of the first round, not the bottom-- and told O'Connor that he and the Nets liked what they saw in Kristaps Porzingis, the 7'1" Latvian center ... they saw a lot.
Because they own the rights to Xavier Thames, the 6'3" point guard who played with Porzingis in Sevilla, they saw a lot of his teammate.
"When I was with the Nets, we were pretty fortunate because he played on the same Spanish team as a player, Xavier Thames, who we drafted last year and those two played together," Marks told O'Connor. "So last year, we were able to see him a lot. Our scouts saw him up close. We saw him a lot of video and like that. He could be special. He really can. There could be real long term success for him."
Thames, for his part, agreed with Marks in a recent tweet to NetsDaily.
@NetsDaily He can play 7 ft w/ a nice jumper and athletic!!— Xavier Thames (@Xthames2) May 31, 2015
Specifically, Marks said Porzingis is "unique."
"He's 7'1" .... He's got a combination of Kirilenko's athleticism. He's long. He's got Dirk's footwork -- I'm not saying he's Dirk at this time.He probably could be the best player in this draft if you look at it in 10 years."
Putting Porzingis into the context of the top four or five, Marks likes him ... but really likes D'Angelo Russell.
"I think you do it on best available. You can't do it on need," said the former assistant Nets GM . "You got Towns there. You've got D'Angelo Russell, you've got Okafor.
"I would put Russell ahead of Okafor. I know the thing, you always draft bigs, but Russell has a unique game to him. He can play both positions. He's a combo guard. He's got a little bit of Russell Westbrook in him. He's got what Russell had coming out of school, he doesn't have a positioin. Is a point guard, is he a 2 guard? He's got both. He could be real good down the road. But he's only been in school for a year, like most of these kids. Whoever's drafted, they're not the savior. They're a piece going forward.
He warned that none of the top players are likely to be "saviors." They're parts of a larger puzzle. At O'Connor's suggestion, Marks put himself in Phil Jackson's shoes. He went through all the rumored possibilities if New York doesn't trade the pick. Bottom line, he would take the Latvian.
"If I were the Knicks, I would take Winslow or Porzingis. It depends on what your philosophy is. Are you looking for a guy right now who can come in and I know it's New York and when I was in Brooklyn, people don't like rebuilding in big cities. It's always been the mantra. You got Winslow, you got Porzingis, you got Mudiay and as I said before, they're a piece. if the Knicks draft Prozingis and they're looking for him to get them to the playoffs next year, that's false security right there.
"What you're looking is who is going to be the best player 10 years from now and I think Porzingis has a chance."