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Mavericks: 3 make or break X-factors for the 2021-22 season

Darreck Kirby
Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. / Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis
Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks X-factor for 2021-2022 season: 1. Kristaps Porzingis

Be honest. Did you ever have a doubt who the number one entry would be?

When weighing an X-factor, there's nothing that says you can't consider the team's second-best player, and that's what Porzingis is, despite what Dallas stated its intentions to be during last year's exit interviews. As such, how far the Mavs go this season will ultimately come down to the health and play of Kristaps Porzingis.

It's been stated numerous times that this was the first "healthy" offseason Porzingis has had in roughly three years, which in itself allows some reason for optimism that the guy we saw at the end of last year won't be the same guy we see this season. By not having to diligently rehab from an injury, KP was finally free to "go under the hood" and work on his game, something he acknowledged in his exit interview to need some retooling.

Full health plus time to develop and enhance your repertoire is great. What's also worth noting is that the 2020 offseason following the bubble was embarrassingly short at roughly seven weeks from the end of the Finals to the start of the next season. Not a lot of time for a guy who needed knee surgery to recover and then get into shape and begin a brand new, nearly full-length season.

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I'm not sure if "Bubble KP" still exists, but if he does, then Dallas already has its Robin next to Luka's Batman, and there's more than enough reason to be hopeful for the season. What remains to be seen is whether Kristaps Porzingis can reach some facsimile of that form again. If he can, great. Can he sustain it throughout a full season without major injury? It's not yet clear. As such, he's the clear-cut number 1 X-factor for the 2021-2022 Dallas Mavericks.

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