The Dallas Mavericks are excited about the 2021-2022 season, and no player may be more pumped than Kristaps Porzingis. The Unicorn changed his game to fit into Rick Carlisle’s system, but new Mavs head coach Jason Kidd is giving him the freedom to attack and showcase his entire skillset. Changing his role has KP playing with energy and looking like a different player.
Porzingis struggled with his health last season. He missed the first nine regular-season games recovering from offseason meniscus surgery, and he just never looked right. KP lacked lateral mobility and had issues protecting the rim.
The 26-year-old is healthy and locked in ahead of the 2021-2022 season, but will the Dallas Mavericks load manage him? Head coach Jason Kidd discussed the plan or lack thereof of Oct. 19. Let us take a closer look and attempt to draw some conclusions.
Will the Dallas Mavericks load manage Kristaps Porzingis this season?
Porzingis has sat on one-half of back-to-back sets for most of his time with the Mavs, so coach Kidd was asked about the plan in his post-practice press conference on Tuesday, and fans can see his response below.
"We haven’t talked about load management all camp. That word has not popped up in camp, so to give you an honest answer, I don’t know because we haven’t talked about load management. He feels great. I think they’ll tell me or we will see when they are tired, but that is something I’d have to come back to you on."
Kidd followed up by saying that the team will be monitoring KP and trying to keep him healthy before noting, “there’s going to be times in the season where he probably does have a game off”.
The Mavericks have a favorable early-season schedule, but their first back-to-back is just over one week away as they host the Spurs on Oct. 28 before traveling to Denver to face the Nuggets the next night. Dallas has one back-to-back in November and two in December.
It appears that Porzingis will not be rested in one-half of those back-to-backs to start the season. The Mavericks are going to give all of their top players days off throughout the year to avoid injuries, but it sounds like KP will have a chance to play 70-plus if he can avoid getting hurt.
Coach Jason Kidd has talked on several occasions about helping Kristaps Porzingis regain his All-Star form, and the Unicorn will need to play in a lot of games to reach that status again. He enters the season healthy, and it sounds like the Dallas Mavericks are going to react to how KP feels throughout the 82-game grind.
This situation will evolve throughout the season, but as of now, fans should expect to see him in both games of the back-to-back on Oct. 28 and 29. The Mavs will be watching how his body responds closely and go from there. Hopefully, Porzingis stays healthy and is in for a monster season.