Why no team wants to face the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs: 3. The Unicorn
Kristaps Porzingis will miss his seventh game in the last eight after being ruled out against the Nets on May 6. He sat three games with a sprained ankle before injuring his knee on April 29 against the Pistons. The right knee soreness has cost him four games with no return in sight. Ten days remain in the regular season, meaning the Unicorn needs to make a speedy recovery.
Assuming he is healthy, Porzingis remains a matchup nightmare. The 25-year-old played his best basketball inside the bubble before a right knee injury ended his campaign after three playoff games. KP has not returned to that level this season, but a 7’3 big man that can shoot the lights out is difficult to guard. Teams have been putting wings on him, but that creates matchup issues elsewhere.
The Mavericks need more from Porzingis on the defensive end of the floor. He must protect the rim, grab rebounds, and closeout on shooters when necessary. Teams have exploited the Unicorn’s defense more this season, but the time off amid the compressed schedule could give KP fresh legs for the postseason.
Teams are going to have to game plan to stop Kristaps Porzingis. No team wants to have to figure out how to slow down a 7’3 big man that shoots from the logo.
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