This is not what Kristaps Porzingis expected when he arrived in Dallas. As the central figure in this sensational deal, he looks forward to creating one of the strongest NBA combinations with Luka Dončić, who is also an upcoming star. Porzingis assumes the situation is 1A-1B. Of course Doncic complied with the agreement. ESPN wrote that at the age of 22, he will soon become the best basketball player in the two-time NBA. In the second playoff series of his career, he averaged 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game.
However, he achieved this goal in failure because the Dallas Mavericks were eliminated by the Los Angeles Clippers in seven consecutive victories. One of the main stories is that Dallas rarely relies on Porzingis. He has battled injuries and adapted to supporting roles in the past two seasons. Porzingis averaged 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He was often used as a bait in the offense, while Doncic used the Clippers’ defense to slow him down.
The Mavericks are obviously Doncic’s club. But one of the biggest problems for Dallas in the future is how Porzingis will adapt to this situation.
“Good question,” Porzingis said after the seventh game, pausing to sort out his thoughts.
“How do I feel? I’m fine. I have put in a lot of effort and effort. I do my part, I listen to the coach, everything is required of me, nothing more. I try to make it simple for myself, So I don’t overdo it, try to focus on what I can control. That is to be a better basketball player and take a break between seasons of hunger. I want to be better, but I also want to be in the game. Better. The basketball court. I will be better, and then other things will be solved by myself.”
Superstars like Doncic will naturally put pressure on the team to make the team competitive for the title. Therefore, every decision made by the Dallas leader is viewed through a prism that fits its franchise players.
When the New York Knicks asked Porzingis to participate in the 2019 trade, he bit the Dallas team who had just drafted Donic. Dallas believes that Porzingis will be his ideal complement. He knows that the introduction of the fourth pick in 2015 will be accompanied by a generous contract extension. Although Porzingis has not yet played the first second for the Mavericks-he has been recovering from a ligament injury in February 2019 throughout the season-but the work was completed as soon as possible.
Porzingis’ health and endurance are a problem for Dallas, especially his right knee meniscus fracture, which ended the 2020 playoffs early. He played only 43 games in the regular season this season. Due to the recovery from meniscus surgery before the season, he missed the first 9 games, and then missed a few games because of the same knee swelling. These injuries, and the resulting decrease in mobility, caused him to have problems defensively. For the same reason, it is difficult for Dallas to sell Porzingis in a profitable manner. In the next three seasons, he owed him $101.5 million. This contract was considered by NBA directors and scouts to be an “albatross” contract, a long-term high-paid player who did not deliver as expected.
If Porzingis is not the kind of player who will help Doncic become a support and assist, and it is very likely that he will not have an offer, then it is difficult to predict how Dallas will reach another star in the near future. The Mavericks have planned a salary cap space that allows them to do so this summer, but as several stars have signed contract extensions with their current teams, the level of free agency has been significantly weakened. Signing any free agent with a high salary could hurt Tim Hardaway Jr. Despite being considered a salary cap trouble, Hardaway played an inspiring role in the 2021 playoffs (18 points per game, 45.8% from three-pointers) and positioned himself as the key to Dallas Players.
Then ask questions about the chemical reaction between Doncic and Porzingis. The two are obviously not friends, but club owner Mark Cuban compared it with Dirk Nowitzki (Dirk Nowitzki) and Jason Terry (Jason Terry) in the early stages of cooperation. This led to two NBA Finals appearances and one championship.
But club sources told ESPN that Porzingis is frustrated and feels more like a side chain than a star, while Doncic dominates the ball and the spotlight. Porzingis often makes undisguised statements after the game, such as stating that “the ball is actually moving tonight” after gaining a large number of points, or stating that the attack did not include his actions when the number of interceptions was low.
“This is our behavior,” Porzingis said after losing to the last ranked Houston on April 7. Although he scored a total of 23 points with a 10/19 shooting percentage, why didn’t he make a shot in the fourth quarter? One ball. After a pause, he added: “It has happened before.”
There is a clear lack of on-site interaction between Doncic and Porzingis, and they rarely greet each other or communicate directly. Asked directly after the victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on April 8, Porzingis did not try to alleviate the discomfort.