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Dallas Mavericks: Should fans be worried about Kristaps Porzingis?

Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis
Dallas Mavericks Maxi Kleber Kristaps Porzingis Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Should Dallas Mavericks fans be worried about Kristaps Porzingis: 1. Defense

Porzingis is supposed to be the team’s rim protector and defensive anchor in the paint. That job becomes more important when he is playing the five surrounded by four perimeter-oriented players. KP averaged 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season while finishing 52nd in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR.

KP can only dream of those numbers through his first nine games of this season. He is averaging 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game and sits 176th in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR among only 250 qualifiers. Porzingis has been torched in three straight games by Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert twice. Yes, those are difficult matchups, but KP needs to be better.

The Dallas Mavericks defense should cause some worry. In the ten games since KP returned (he sat out against Houston on Jan. 23), the team has allowed 116.4 points per game, and they sit 19th in defensive rating during that stretch. The team emphasized improving their defense this offseason. To be fair, the Mavs have not played a game with their full roster yet.

The panic meter on Porzingis’ defense should sit at a two out of ten. The Unicorn will get it sorted quickly. The team’s defense should be slightly higher. The Mavericks need more energy and effort on both ends of the floor. Still, give them time. Multiple players are recovering from lengthy absences in the health and safety protocols. KP is still finding his groove following his offseason surgery too.

Next. Re-grading the Kristaps Porzingis trade after 2 years

Hopefully, the Dallas Mavericks get it ironed out quickly. Keep it locked to The Smoking Cuban for more analysis on the team, plus all the rumors and news fans crave.