Why Kristaps Porzingis makes the Dallas Mavericks an elite team: 5. Floor spacing
KP’s first made basket of the season came on a trailing 3-pointer. Luka Doncic bought the ball up the floor and found Porzingis for the wide-open triple. See the play below.
The 7’3 Unicorn is an above league average 3-point shooter. His size and ability put the defense in a constant bind. Teams are forced to guard KP at all times, which opens up space for the Mavs offense to thrive.
Here is an example. In the game against the Magic, Luka attacks the basket off of a Willie Cauley-Stein screen. All five Orlando players converge on him in the paint leaving Maxi Kleber and Josh Green wide open beyond the arc.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/01/09/0022000139/43/f208a4b1-d5cf-70ee-cba2-df0666d0011a_1280x720.mp4
Teams cannot afford to do that with Porzingis on the floor. They have a difficult decision to make between helping on Doncic and defending the Unicorn beyond the 3-point line. The result is an easy bucket for the Mavs, regardless of the choice.
Porzingis also hit this step back three on Wednesday night.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/01/13/0022000164/63/a9adf4dd-752a-55e9-335c-b2810cf70cd9_1280x720.mp4
The only players in the league capable of defending that shot are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis. The Unicorn creating that extra space and firing away could become a deadly wrinkle for the Mavericks this season.
The floor spacing is just one aspect of what makes Dallas dangerous, though.
Next: No. 4