Kristaps Porzingis’ ability (or lack thereof) to provide adequate support for Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to be a hot topic for Dallas Mavericks fans. He hasn’t done himself any favors, either, by putting up 14.5 points per contest on just 33.3% shooting and 23.1% from deep through two games.
The big question — and one that has been floating around for three-plus years now — is whether the Mavs can get where they want to go while doling out massive sums to the former All-Star. According to one hoops scribe, the answer to that question may just be a big, fat no.
On Tuesday, Bleacher Report put out a roundtable list of early hot takes for every team in the Association (with the small sample size qualifier). Where Dallas is concerned, Andy Bailey opined that Porzingis “won’t finish the season as a Maverick.”
An Awkward Fit?
Incredibly, the Mavericks were barely positive when Doncic and Porzingis shared the floor last season. In the 862 minutes they were both on the court, Dallas outscored opponents by just 0.5 points per 100 possessions.
When Hardaway was thrown into the mix, it actually became a negative point-differential unit. And things were particularly bad on the defensive end, where the Mavs’ D-rating ballooned to 120.2 when those three were all in the game. Meanwhile, the team’s rebounding rate dropped to a paltry 47.4%.
Bailey can see a scenario where Jason Kidd tries to flip the script, but he also believes that the Mavs coach could be playing a rigged game there.
“Kidd may be intent on restoring Porzingis’ unicorn status, but he’ll learn before long that the best path to decent offense with Luka is high pick-and-rolls with a good rim runner and shooters spreading the floor,” he said.
“KP wants a little more responsibility within the offense, including post-ups like he experienced during his days in the triangle. The problem, of course, is that play type is nowhere near as efficient as Luka’s bread and butter (again, the pick-and-roll).”
He concluded, “Removing the tension that comes with figuring out Porzingis’ role might require removing him altogether.”
Get all the latest Mavericks news, analysis and viral content! Follow the Heavy on Mavs Facebook page!
As Ever, Porzingis Could Be Hard to Trade
Although Porzingis is still just 26 years old and, theoretically, just entering his prime, the Mavs could have a difficult time trading him. And the reasons for that are numerous.
“It just might be difficult to find a taker,” wrote Bailey. “He has a troubling injury history, two years and $69.8 million left on his contract after this one (assuming he picks up a $36 million player option) and looks much slower on defense than he did in his first few seasons. The allure of the stretch 5 has to intrigue at least one team out there, though.”
Recent struggles aside, Porzingis has largely been a serviceable threat from long range. In 2020-21, he connected on 37.6% of his six three-point attempts per game. That connection rate ranked fourth league-wide among players seven feet or taller.
- Mavericks Easing In-Arena COVID-19 Guidelines
- Tim Hardaway Jr Raises the Mavericks’ Ceiling
- Warriors Star Gets Trolled by Teammates for NBA 75 Snub
- Celtics’ Brown Throws Down: ‘I Had Bad Intentions’