Dallas Mavericks: Kristaps Porzingis is motivated to improve this offseason
By Tyler Watts
The Dallas Mavericks were knocked out by the LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. Luka Doncic was the best player on the court, but the Mavs supporting cast did not give him enough help. Kristaps Porzingis struggled to find his footing in the series. He averaged just 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks over the seven games.
KP’s poor performance in the playoffs has fans searching for trades. The Mavericks appear committed to improving the roster around Luka Doncic. Porzingis is owed over $101 million over the next three seasons. Dallas needs the Unicorn to play like a second star if the Mavs want to compete for a championship. If he cannot perform better, the front office must find a way to add a second star.
KP enters the offseason healthy for the first time in his six-year NBA career. The 7’3 big man hears the trade chatter and calls for improvement too. He took to Instagram to offer a message to fans about the offseason ahead. Let us take a closer look before discussing the Mavs options moving forward.
Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis is motivated heading into the offseason
KP was asked to draw the defense, space the floor, and knock down open shots against the Clippers in the playoffs. It is arguably the worst matchup in the league for the Unicorn, especially when LA is using Kawhi Leonard to defend Porzingis. The Clippers switchable wings limit what he can do. Still, no max contract should be able to be taken completely out of a series.
The 25-year-old big man offered a message to fans on Instagram on June 12.
KP has three years left on his contract and is coming off a season where he missed 29 regular-season games with injuries before struggling in the playoffs. Dallas would be selling low if they decide to move the Unicorn this offseason.
The Mavericks’ only other option is to help him improve this summer. Porzingis needs to get some of his athleticism and mobility back. He must protect the rim on the defensive end of the floor. KP took a significant step backward last season but was one of the best in the league in his first season in Dallas.
The Mavs need to find ways to get him more involved in the offense too. Porzingis cannot dribble the ball or be asked to create shots for himself. He must improve his post game, shot creation, and ball-handling ability. The Unicorn 2.0 must be able to keep the offense rolling when Luka Doncic heads to the bench for a rest.
The Dallas Mavericks face a difficult decision with Kristaps Porzingis. They cannot compete for a championship unless he improves his overall play. The Mavs need to find ways to make that happen or a trade that helps them accomplish their goal.
Neither will be easy, which makes this offseason so intriguing. How can the front office improve the roster? Will it be enough to jump into title contention? Fans will just have to wait and see.