Mavs star Kristaps Porzingis’ brutally honest admission about playoff role next to Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis took a lot of heat for his poor performance in the playoffs as Luka Doncic’s sidekick. Porzingis too often felt like a non-factor, floating around the perimeter and struggling to make an impact on the defensive end as the Mavs suffered a seven-game series loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
Porzingis recently addressed this in an interview with a Latvian sports studio. The Mavs star admitted he was frustrated with his role at the start but did his job as asked and ultimately learned to accept it.
“At the start it was hard for me to accept my role because I’m not used to having my part reduced like that. I was put in the corner and did my job like a soldier.”
Porzingis said that because he was being guarded by Kawhi Leonard for much of the series, the Mavs wanted him to space the floor and then attack the paint if there were opportunities. He didn’t get as many chances in pick-and-roll and the offense didn’t run through him much.
After putting up over 20 points per game in the regular season, the Mavs big man averaged just 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting under 30% from 3-point land in the playoffs. Dallas still nearly beat the Clippers anyway thanks to Doncic’s heroics, but the team obviously needs more from Porzingis in order to be a real contender.
New Mavs head coach Jason Kidd and executive Nico Harrison have talked up Porzingis since taking over, and perhaps Kidd will try to use KP in new ways. But, ultimately, it will come down to Porzingis proving he can be an effective player when it matters, assuming he’s not traded this offseason or next season before the deadline.
There have been rumors of an icy relationship between Doncic and Porzingis, so this will be a situation to monitor in Dallas.