Mark Cuban thinks Kristaps Porzingis’ impact on Mavs is ‘underappreciated’
Much has been written about Luka Doncic’s second-year dominance — and for good reason. But, for Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, one Mavs player and the impact he brings has been overlooked. Per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, the billionaire cites Kristaps Porzingis as a valuable contributor that’s been overlooked amid the Luka Mania.
“I think the most underappreciated change has been K.P,” Cuban said of Kristaps Porzingis. “I don’t there’s ever been a max-out player like that, who has changed his game to fit what’s needed for the team, as quickly as K.P. has. Literally starting with the Toronto game.”
The game Cuban is referencing, the Mavericks 110-102 victory over the defending-champion Raptors was one of the best this season for Porzingis. Scoring 20 points and tying a career-high for rebounds with 15, the 7-foot-3 big man dominated on the floor.
Since that win, Porzingis and the Mavericks have won eight of their last nine games and have outscored opponents by an average of 16 points per game in those wins.
Statistics wise, Porzingis’ season is a bit of a mixed bag. The Latvian big man is only averaging 17.2 points, much lower than the 22.7 per game he was putting up in 48 games in 2017 with the Knicks before he got injured. Not only is his scoring down but Porzingis is shooting with 40/35/69 shooting splits — the lowest marks of his young career.
The lack of scoring can be excused as Porzingis is no longer the top scoring option on his team as Doncic is a bonafide superstar but the poor efficiency is worrisome — especially for someone his size.
On the other hand, as evident in the Toronto game, Porzingis is dominating on the boards. You’d think someone well over 7-feet tall would already be doing this but Porzingis hasn’t until now.
This year, Porzingis is averaging a career-high 9.2 rebounds per game, much better than his 7.1 per game average with the Knicks.
Additionally, Porzingis is still providing excellent rim protection and his play, along with Doncic’s and a few others, is translating to wins — something Dallas hasn’t done very often since the 2014-15 season.