If the Dallas Mavericks‘ preseason game versus the Detroit Pistons was any indicator, Kristaps Porzingis is set for an outstanding return with high expectations. The Latvian superstar may have been slightly forgotten in the NBA world after suffering an injury that kept him out for more than an entire season, but extended recovery time and a change of scenery will prove to pay dividends. His name will be back on the map in no time.
Expectations for Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis’ Past
It cannot be forgotten that Porzingis was an All-Star before his injury. He kept the New York Knicks relevant and was deemed the next European star to follow Dirk Nowitzki. Coincidentally, he now replaces Nowitzki in Dallas.
Porzingis has averaged career totals of about 18 points and seven rebounds per game. Before his injury, he was having a spectacular season with averages of about 23 points, seven rebounds, and two-and-a-half blocks per game. Although he is mostly known for his offensive potency, Porzingis is a menace on the defensive side as well. The “soft European” stereotype is far from what he is.
He’s also only 24-years-old. There’s still so much untapped potential.
Change of Scenery
The Mavericks are the ideal spot for Porzingis. He immediately becomes the star forward and has a rising star of a teammate in Luka Doncic. Furthermore, although the Mavericks did not manage to sign any huge names, they built a solid team in the offseason. A run into the playoffs isn’t just a dream.
Shrewd additions like Delon Wright, Seth Curry, and Boban Marjanovic add to an already productive group of Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, Tim Hardaway, Jalen Brunson, and more. Three-point shooting and defense are going to be the biggest differences in the new squad.
Young and hungry is the best way to describe this Mavericks team. The team’s practice sessions, trips, social media posts, and so on show a true bond already. The new additions are gelling well into the Mavericks’ culture.
The chemistry and team spirit look strong, something that could not always be said about the Knicks. The Mavericks are touted as a potential surprise team lead by mastermind, Rick Carlisle. With a healthy Porzingis, however, look for the Mavericks to soar.
Porzingis is healthy, and that’s what’s important. He’s also, quite clearly, fitter than ever before. His continuous fitness progress posts on social media are a testament to this.
Picking up where he left off, Porzingis will make a serious case for an All-Star position. This will be tough in a stacked Western Conference, but the forward has added to his arsenal.
Porzingis is putting on muscle ?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 14, 2019
His three-point stroke looks as pure as ever, while his handles are extremely impressive for a player of his size. He is “the Unicorn” for a reason. Opposing defenses are going to put the majority of their attention on Doncic, leaving Porzingis in many one-on-one situations. The majority of Porzingis’ match-ups are already mismatches, so he will thrive.
His pick-and-roll prowess with Doncic will also be on full display, and truth be told, only a few defenders are capable of keeping Porzingis at bay on any given night.
Powell, Kleber, and Marjanovic are fine defenders but expect Porzingis to carry a heavy load on that side of the ball as well. He’s an elite shot-blocker and will be relied upon versus some of the league’s best in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis.
Porzingis will hit averages of about 23 to 24 points per game. The other Mavericks big men are not elite rebounders, either, so he will average around seven or eight per game. As a result, Porzingis will return as one of the NBA’s elite big men.
Porzingis is already pulling from the parking lot ?? pic.twitter.com/DlLzQsEzm6
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 9, 2019
Look for the Mavericks to become a serious championship threat after a couple of years of the Porzingis-Doncic partnership.
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