Kristaps Porzingis’s situation in Dallas has been complicated for quite some time. After arriving in January 2019 as a star from the Knicks, everyone expected him to form a deadly duo with Luka Doncic, who by then had been in the NBA for months. It has not been so. With injuries in between, rumors of little understanding with the Slovenian and some complaints about understanding that he deserved more weight in attack, everything was muddied until it seemed that the most logical thing was for player and franchise to separate their paths. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPNThat is exactly how the Latvian hinterland saw it.
The aforementioned journalist emphasizes that at the end of the last season Porzingis was clear about his desire to be transferred; however, he preferred not to ask for a transfer as he was smart enough to understand what he meant in the present. Such a decision may end up being beneficial, as his perspective as a Mavs player has changed.
MacMahon explains that Porzingis is now ready for what he feels like a new beginning after the coach change (Rick Carlisle has left and Jason Kidd has arrived). In addition, this summer he has been in perfect physical condition, so he has been able to work both on his game and on his body. All this means that he has returned to start the preseason with a renewed feeling.
This is certainly good news for Dallas. After a low-profile market in which they have barely moved, and knowing that Luka Doncic always gives an excellent level, the team’s ceiling in the 2021-22 season will largely depend on Porzingis’ performance, which will be better if he find it comfortable and avoid injury. It seems he’s on that path, and Jason Kidd may be to blame for it. The new Mavericks coach wanted to get to know the Latvian up close; so much so that he traveled to his country to spend a few days with him and his family. Porzingis appreciated the gesture and apparently has changed his mentality in the face of the upcoming campaign.
Once the group work is done on a moral level, the reality is that Porzingis is facing a decisive course in what is strictly basketball. The Latvian has to play better. His numbers are by no means bad, but stepping up to take responsibility and be decisive is a requirement at this point in his career. He has a new opportunity to prove that he is the star that Doncic should have by his side.
(Photograph by Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)