Dallas Mavericks: A good Porzingis is a terrible thing to waste

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

In the Dallas Mavericks rematch against the Los Angeles Clippers, things unfolded differently than they did last year in the playoffs. Last season, the surging Mavericks banished their No. 2 scorer to a decoy role.

Roaming the fringe and serving as nothing more than a spot-up shooter was a curious strategy, to say the least. Wasting the very traits that makes “The Unicorn” a unicorn, is what essentially led to coach Rick Carlisle’s dismissal. And finding a way to tap the immense talent of Kristaps Porzingis became Priority No. 1 for new coach Jason Kidd this year.

Kristaps Porzingis makes all the difference for the Dallas Mavericks this year

While Luka Doncic is the clear-cut leader of this franchise, how high this team can elevate in the postseason will likely come down to Kristaps Porzingis. So if Doncic elevates the floor, it’s KP’s unknown potential that elevates the ceiling.

Things didn’t start great for KP this season. Earlier in the season, KP was down statistically across the board. But since returning from injury, KP has found his stride. He took up a bigger role and rediscovered parts of his game that haven’t been seen since his days in New York.

It’s that super star in New York the Dallas Mavericks thought they were getting when they traded for Porzingis three seasons ago. And it’s that star they saw last night against the Clippers.

In Doncic’s first game back from injury, he picked up right where he left off, putting up 26 points and nine rebounds. But KP didn’t just fade into the background, he continued his strong play and led the team in scoring, putting up 30 points and going 10 of 10 from the charity stripe.

Porzingis was pivotal down the stretch, scoring six and snagging three offensive boards on OT. Things clearly opened up with Luka Doncic back on the court. Doncic created opportunities for himself and others. He paved the way to a win, thus ending Dallas’ three-game skid.

While the three losses were painful, they could pay dividends going forward. Playing the featured role, KP got his game back. And he was able to keep that mojo when Luka returned. If both players are performing up to their standard, Dallas has a chance to advance much deeper into the playoffs.

Having a clear No. 2 like KP, allows Tim Hardaway and Jalen Brunson be No. 3 and No. 4. It no longer pressures one (or both) to play above their weight class and allows everyone to play within themselves and be more opportunistic within the flow of the game.

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With any luck this dynamic will continue after the break. The Dallas Mavericks are off for the holidays and can take this momentum and allow it to ferment. It’s great to see KP playing up to his potential because a good Porzingis is a terrible thing to waste .