Sports

Mavericks needs to cut the cord on the Kristaps Porziņģis experiment

It’s... not working out.

It’s… not working out.
Photo: Getty Images

It’s time for the Dallas Mavericks to move on from the often-injured Kristaps Porziņģis. He’s already missed more than half the team’s games this season, and they’re only a couple weeks in. The unicorn is gone, lost forever, now they’re stuck with Kris-taps. Kristaps keeps tapping out of games and can’t seem to get right.

Porziņģis is out with a back injury now… or maybe it’s a knee? No, wait, it’s his back, and the team doesn’t know when he’ll be back. Of course, the Mavs will put an optimistic spin on the return of Porziņģis, but internally, I’m sure they’re growing more worried by the day about his injuries continuing to pile up. If owner Mark Cuban hasn’t realized this by now, it’s time to pull the plug on the Porziņģis-Luka Dončić pairing in Dallas.

Cuban has spoken about the duo and seems to be locked into making this relationship work. It’s tough to do that when one-half of the partnership is habitually sidelined with an injury of some kind. In the three games Porziņģis has played so far, it’s not like he was killing it anyway. He’s averaging 12.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. The two blocks are awesome, but at 7-foot-3, I expect you to stumble into two blocks, so let’s not lose our minds over that. Averaging a double-double with points and rebounds is what would impress me. Porziņģis never even accomplished this in his glory days with the Knicks.

It’s already out there that he doesn’t care for Luka’s style of play. And Dončić is constantly being criticized for not involving his teammates enough. Anytime a player is perceived as being a “ball-hog,” the reason for it is usually simple. That player doesn’t trust his teammates enough, especially in big spots. Michael Jordan had to learn how to trust teammates. Players can tend to sit back and watch more gifted offensive talents mesmerize an arena. We also saw this with Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, and even the late Kobe Bryant. When these players didn’t have complete trust in teammates, they would take 30 shots some nights.

If Cuban and the Mavs are still hoping that the Unicorn will reappear, they need to wake up. That ain’t going to happen. The Kristaps they have now is going to be the same player next year and the year after. At least he will be in Dallas anyway. Porziņģis still thinks he should be at least a star in the NBA. At his healthiest, he’ll never outshine Luka on the Mavericks.

Whenever Porziņģis does return from his latest injury, the Mavs need to feature him, so his talents are on full display for teams around the league. Feature Porziņģiss for 10-15 games (hopefully), let him get his averages up so you can place him on the trade block. Sure, the Mavs may win a few more games, but even so, they need to get what they can for Porzingis while the getting is good.

Dončić’s style won’t mesh well right now with another star player. Or even a player who thinks he should be a star. I know it takes superstars to win titles in the NBA, but Luka either needs an older veteran or two that used to be stars or hungry role players that can get it done on both ends of the floor at a high level. Pairing Luka with another would-be star isn’t the best formula for Dallas currently.

Whatever the case, the Mavs need to get this thing figured out soon. It would suck to look back in five to seven years and realize the Mavs wasted many of Luka’s prime years on a horse that was never prepared to race. It’s time to pack Porziņģis’ bags and find him a new NBA home, one where he can shine in a way he feels he truly deserves.

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