Dallas Mavericks adjustment without Kristaps Porzingis: 1. Defense
Head coach Jason Kidd emphasized chemistry, accountability, and defense during training camp. He switched up the team’s scheme and has the Mavs being more aggressive as they attempt to create turnovers and get stops this season. Dallas was 21st in defensive rating last season and must improve in that area if they want to become serious title contenders.
Kristaps Porzingis struggled mightily on defense last season, and his poor play had a massive impact on the team as a whole. The Unicorn is Dallas’s top rim protector. They need him altering shots inside and making it difficult for the opposition to score.
The Mavericks do not have another plus rim protector and are going to struggle on the glass without Porzingis. Luka Doncic is one of the league’s best rebounders, but the team will have to replace KP’s nine boards per game by committee. Dwight Powell is the team’s best offensive center, but he is not a rim protector or rebounder. Can Dallas cover those two holes?
The Mavericks' best bet is to go small. It improves their perimeter defense, and hopefully, slows the penetration into the paint. They are going to struggle to protect the rim and end possession without Porzingis, and the team’s defense will be something to watch closely if Kristaps Porzingis needs to miss time.
Fans should keep checking back to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest on KP's back injury and his status moving forward. If he is out, the Dallas Mavericks will have to make significant adjustments to keep picking up victories.