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Dallas Mavericks: Examining defensive woes and how to fix them

Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis is struggling to protect the rim

The Mavs viewed Porzingis as the perfect complement to Luka Doncic when they traded for the Unicorn in Jan. 2019. The 7’3 big man can stretch the floor and score at an elite level while protecting the rim on the other end. Mavericks fans saw that last season as KP held the opposition to 50.5 percent shooting within six feet. He ranked 13th in the NBA in field goal percentage differential.

This season, the Unicorn is allowing the opposition to shoot 53.8 percent as he has dropped to 29th, according to NBA Stats. Porzingis struggles defending on the perimeter making some matchups problematic. He is best suited as a help defender altering shots in the paint. KP looks a half step slower and is coming up empty in his attempts to protect the rim. Damian Lillard gets an easy deuce here because Porzingis is late rotating over.

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/02/14/0022000411/620/07488409-d557-b55c-8233-f39f0c2166da_1280x720.mp4

The Unicorn averages 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game which are well down from his first season in Dallas. The most telling stat is the Mavericks have a defensive rating of 123.7 with KP on the floor, per Basketball-Reference. That number drops 111.1 when he is on the bench. Dallas goes from the worst defense in the league by far with Porzingis out there to a middle-of-the-road one when he rests.

Kristaps Porzingis is not the only problem, though.

Next: Perimeter D

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