Dallas Mavericks need from Kristaps Porzingis: 1. Rim protection
The Mavs must have KP back in the lineup changing shot inside and making it difficult for the opposition to score. With Porzingis, Dallas had a 104.0 defensive rating and sat just outside the top ten, but it dropped to 108.7 and 20th over the last five games.
It is not just KP impacting their defensive numbers as forward Maxi Kleber has missed the last two games too. The Mavericks have struggled to protect the rim with both KP and Kleber out of the lineup.
Fans saw the Unicorn moving significantly better than he was last season in the first three games. His lateral mobility had returned, which helped his shot-blocking and ability to make the opposition’s life difficult in the paint. Did his back injury disrupt that? Will Porzingis return and immediately be a force on the defensive end of the floor? It is something to watch closely when he is back in the lineup.
The Dallas Mavericks are not the most talented team in the Western Conference, but they have one of the league’s best players in Luka Doncic. They need Kristaps Porzingis to score, space the floor, and protect the rim to have a chance to make a deep playoff run. Can the Unicorn stay healthy and deliver in the postseason? Stay tuned to find out.