Should Kristaps Porzingis get a pass for his play in the Dallas Mavericks playoff loss?
The Clippers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA making the way Luka Doncic picked them apart with surgical precision even more impressive. Kawhi Leonard has been on the All-Defensive teams six times. Paul George earned five honors. Rajon Rondo has four of his own and Patrick Beverley made three. That goes without mentioning veteran wings with size like Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris Sr.
LA also presents perhaps the most difficult matchup for Porzingis. They used Kawhi, PG-13, Batum, and Morris Sr. to check the Unicorn. They all have the athletic ability to hang with KP on the perimeter and the size to keep from getting bullied in the post. Luka was hunting the weakest Clippers defender on switches, which was rarely the man defending Porzingis.
LA did a fantastic job of taking Kristaps Porzingis out of the game, but he does not deserve a total pass. Star players make their presence felt in a playoff series. KP had a key 20 points in the Game 2 win at the Staples Center but was seldom heard from again.
He needed to be more involved on both ends of the floor. Porzingis was forced to defend on the perimeter, and he struggled mightily. The defensive end may be the bigger question mark for the 25-year-old going forward. Can he get back to protecting the rim and being a force on that end of the floor? The answer is massive for the Dallas Mavericks.
Next: Case for trading KP