When an athlete is traded from one team to another, the player along with the media will often circle the respective matchups on next season’s calendar. It has been no different with Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis, who was acquired at the trade deadline last season.
The Mavericks sent Dennis Smith Jr., Wes Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan to the New York Knicks in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke, per Sham Charania of The Athletic.
Porzingis faced the Knicks for the first time since being traded back in January. It was a matchup that will thrust Porzingis into the spotlight on Friday in Dallas.
“I can’t wait to get back on the court again and fix this, what I did tonight. Not fix it, but to take a step forward in the right direction,” said Porzingis. “You know, I know how much my teammates care about me. They’re trying to get me into the game. They’re looking out for me, things like that, but in the end, it’s on my shoulders to figure it out.”
He was later asked if he was trying to make a statement on Friday against the Knicks.
“I want to get a win. That’s what I want to get. I want to keep winning,” Porzingis told Fanatics View. “We’re 5-2. I haven’t played well once. We have so much more room to grow as a team. That’s the crazy thing. Myself, maybe other guys also struggling in some moments, we’re still able to win games. Once I think we all put this thing together, we can be a force, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Obviously, things didn’t pan out, as the Mavericks fell 106-102 while Porzingis scored 28 points with nine rebounds and five blocks.
Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle on Porzingis’ Progression
Before the Mavericks took on the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, the New York Post’s Greg Joyce asked Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle about Porzingis progression this season.
“He’s doing extremely well,” Carlisle replied.
During Porzingis’ first six games, he averaged, 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. He’s also shooting 43 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from behind the arc. It was reported by numerous outlets earlier this year that Porzingis would not be playing in back to back games. Fortunately to this point in the season, the Mavericks have not been presented with that scenario. So, Carlisle hasn’t had to decide to sit Porzingis out of any games. However, the forward is averaging 32.3 minutes per game through six games.
“We go day-to-day with it,” Carlisle said. “We watch all of our players’ situations very closely. His is no different. It’s not just watching it, tracking stuff on apps and dials and meters, and stuff like that. It’s talking to guys and getting feedback.”