The Dallas Mavericks struggled out of the gates last season as they played without Kristaps Porzingis while he recovered from offseason meniscus surgery. He returned after nine games, but never looked quite right before being relegated to an ancillary role in the playoffs.
The Mavs replaced long-time head coach Rick Carlisle with Jason Kidd this summer. The Hall of Fame point guard talked from day one about helping KP return to his All-Star form. Porzingis had a healthy offseason and came into the year refreshed and excited about his role in Kidd’s system. The early returns suggest the Unicorn is back and ready for a monster season.
The Mavs had their preseason dress rehearsal on Oct. 13 in Charlotte against the Hornets. It was the first time the team’s starters played into the second half, and Porzingis responded with a massive night. Here is a closer look at his performance and a quote from head coach Jason Kidd.
Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis shows he’s ready vs. Hornets
Porzingis came hot on Wednesday night. He scored the Mavericks' first basket on a 3-pointer off a long rebound to open the flood gates, but he was far from done. KP dove to the rim for this easy score in the first quarter.
Porzingis took eight shots in the first half and only missed one of them. He had 17 points, seven rebounds, and two steals in an incredible night. The Unicorn was energetic and looked ready for the start of the regular season. Head coach Jason Kidd had this to say about KP at the end of the first quarter, courtesy of Callie Caplan.
Porzingis has ratcheted up the defense this season. He struggled to protect the rim last year after being one of the league’s best during his first season in Dallas. KP is back and being more active in the passing lanes in Kidd’s new defensive scheme.
Kidd gave fans a glimpse at his rotations too. It was the first time Doncic and Porzingis did not have their minutes paired this preseason. Kidd staggered them to have one of the floor at nearly all times. The Hall of Famer is still figuring out his go-to rotation, but fans can expect the two stars to both get opportunities to be the number one option on the floor.
The Dallas Mavericks blew out the shorthanded Charlotte Hornets on Oct. 13. The plan was to play Kristaps Porzingis and superstar Luka Doncic more, but the lopsided nature of the game limited the Unicorn to just 23 minutes. He finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals on seven of ten shooting from the field. The Mavericks outscored the Hornets by 31 points during KP’s 23 minutes on Wednesday night.
Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks look ready for regular-season action, but they have one more preseason contest as they travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Friday. Dallas will be looking to finish their warmup slate undefeated. Judging by Wednesday’s game, the Mavs look ready to be a force in the Western Conference this season, and fans will not want to miss a second of the action.