It’s no secret Kristaps Porzingis had a disappointing playoff series last season against the Los Angeles Clippers. Averaging just 13.1 points per game, Porzingis was phased almost entirely out of the offense while standing in the corner for the majority of possessions. His fit with the Dallas Mavericks was certainly in question, with trade rumors constantly getting tossed around involving the seven-footer. Fortunately for fans, new Head Coach Jason Kidd plans to rejuvenate KP’s role with the Mavericks.
Kidd showed high praise for Porzingis during Mavs Media Day while diving into his fit within the lineup this season.
“When you look at KP, he can play both four (Power Forward) and five (Center). There will be times when he’s out there at the five, but I think starting the season, he will probably start at the four.”
Porzingis’ true position is power forward, which is the position he played on the New York Knicks. However, when KP was traded to Dallas, he has almost exclusively played at the Center position. A shift in his position in the lineup could prove Porzingis as more of a focal point in the offense.
This begs the question, though, who starts at the center position with Porzingis playing the four? At the start of training camp, Kidd made it clear that he plans to insert Dwight Powell in the starting lineup next to Kristaps in the frontcourt. This news doesn’t come without concern, as the duo were abysmal defensively when playing alongside one another.
Porzingis and Powell, while on the court together, allowed 132.2 points per 100 possessions last season. An enormous struggle defensively as both of the big men had their share of injuries the year prior. While this is a small sample size, as they only played a total of 120 minutes together the whole season, it shows that they could not coexist on the court.
However, during the 2019-20 season, Porzingis and Powell allowed 105.3 points per 100 possessions in 498 total minutes together. Performances like this shine hope for a Porzingis-Powell frontcourt, proving they are capable of performing well together defensively. But we can expect this experiment to be short-lived if they can’t get it done on both ends in the 2021-22 season.
Photo retrieved from Hoops Habit
Offensively, on the other hand, there’s no question these two are perfect for franchise star Luka Doncic. Last season, the Mavericks scored 1.252 points per possession when Doncic receives a screen from Porzingis and 1.251 points per possession when Powell screens. These numbers are incredibly impressive and attest to the beauty of the Mavericks pick-and-roll offense.
There is high optimism surrounding Porzingis’ third season in Dallas. This summer has been Kristaps’ first offseason 100% healthy since his sophomore season in New York, which is huge considering how many games he missed coming into the season, still rehabbing from his previous injury. With a healthy Porzingis being moved to the power forward position and Luka continuing his dominance, it’s looking to be an exciting season for Dallas.
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