The Sacramento Kings waived Papagiannis at last month’s trade deadline after they rolled the dice on him with 13th pick in the 2016 draft.
As a rookie, the Greek big man was largely an afterthought until the Kings gave him more playing time late in the 2016-17 season. Papagiannis finished the year averaging 5.6 points on 54.9 percent shooting and 3.9 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game.
Papagiannis opened his second NBA season buried on the Kings’ depth chart behind Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos, and Zach Randolph’s arrival in free agency muddied the frontcourt picture even more. As a result, he played an average of 7.4 minutes per night in just 16 games.
His most productive time came with the G League’s Reno Bighorns. In 10 appearances for the Kings’ minor league affiliate, Papagiannis averaged 13.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 27.1 minutes per game.
Thus far, all evidence suggests Papagiannis remains a major work in progress. But with a smooth mid-range jumper and decent pick-and-roll instincts, the 20-year-old eventually could morph into a steady contributor if the Blazers decide to extend his stay and devote resources to his long-term development.
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