Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis could quickly become the best center in team history after signing his five-year max contract.
It is always dangerous to make an assumption quickly, but Kristaps Porzingis should be in the running for Mavs best center ever. Not yet, but it would only take a couple of stand out seasons to earn the title.
Only one Maverick center has made an All-Star team. That was James Donaldson, back in 1988. He averaged an incredible seven points and nine rebounds per game. That is not a joke. Check the numbers. The NBA was a different game back then.
Since 1998, the Mavs have sported centers like Shawn Bradley, Erick Dampier, Ian Mahinmi, and Samuel Dalembert. They all put in max effort and did their jobs the best they could (except for Dalembert), but that’s not exactly a frontcourt legacy worth bragging over.
Tyson Chandler, however, is a different story. No one would argue he’s the most important center in Dallas Mavericks’ history. There’s no way Dallas wins the 2011 championship without Chandler patrolling the paint. But Chandler only spent two seasons in Dallas. The Mavericks only got one year of prime Tyson Chandler as he came back as a 32-year-old in 2015.
How KP can do it
In Porzingis’ second season in New York, he put up 18 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks per game. A couple of seasons like that would easily make him the best statistical center in Mavericks’ history.
KP performed significantly better during his All-Star season too. Currently, the highest points per game by a center for Dallas is Bradley’s 14.6 in 1996-97. If he stays healthy, Porzingis should easily surpass that.
Of course, he’ll need to improve those rebounding numbers. The Mavericks seem to be indicating that Porzingis will essentially play center and power forward throughout the year, depending on the match-up. That’s not just a glimpse of how position-less the NBA is becoming, but also an indictment on Kristaps’ mediocre rebounding. For Porzingis to take the next step, he needs to get closer to double-digit rebound numbers.
If Kristaps Porzingis stays healthy, he’ll easily become the best center the Dallas Mavericks have ever seen. In today’s NBA, having a high scoring big man who can also defend the paint might be the most valuable piece a team can have. If that’s the case, the best center in Mavs’ history will have arrived just in time.