He’s not perfect, and his situation is not particularly ideal, but he is what we’ve got.
Kristaps Porzingis may not ever consistently be the player that he could be due to injuries that seem to slow him down every single season, but when he’s right, he’s really, really good.
Expectations were understandably high after earning All-Bubble Honors last season, but he has gotten off to a slow start, which seems like something we should get used to.
Fans have been quick to overreact this season- about everything- but mostly about the play of Kristaps Porzingis. Some are calling to trade him for Steven Adams (!?), and some are calling to bench him until he gets finds a rhythm (Some are calling to fire Rick Carlisle).
I’m not even going to address the first fan “solution” for KP’s slow start; Mavs’ Twitter can be a dark, dark place. The second solution of some have called for (benching Porzingis) would not work either. Here is why.
We all know that Porzingis can be a great player. Out of all the players in the bubble, he was named one of the best 10.
Since KP has been in Dallas, we have learned a few things: 1) As I mentioned above, it may always take him some time to return from any injury, and 2) he needs to find a rhythm.
You cannot find any rhythm sitting on the bench. We will have to sit through a few really bad games for him to get comfortable again. That is not ideal, obviously, but it’s the reality of the Mavericks’ situation. Hopefully, those really bad games are behind us, because yes, he has had some atrocious games this season. But we all remember how good he can be.
It’s not like we are five years removed from the last time KP played great basketball. We are really only five months removed from his outstanding performance in the bubble.
Real ones remember that last year was not always perfect for the Unicorn. His final season stats were great (20.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2 BPG), but here’s a look at his numbers from the first 11 games of last season.
2019-2020 First 11 games: 18.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.3 BPG on 38%/34% shooting
2020-2021 First 11 games: 19.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG on 45%/29% shooting
Yes, very familiar.
If anything, his numbers this year are a little better. His overall shooting numbers are improved, and his points per game numbers have increased. His three-point shooting is a lot worse, but that could be attributed to the fact that all of his teammates who can spread the floor were sick with COVID for most of those games. Basically, the point of all of this is, don’t give up on him yet. I was just about ready to give up on him during the six-game losing streak the team endured, but all it took was one good game. He played well against Atlanta on Wednesday night (24 points, 11 rebounds on 50% shooting). Well enough to shift my perspective.
That, of course, is not to say that he is done having bad games.
I guarantee he will have a couple more bad games, and Mavs’ Twitter will implode and be littered with ESPN Trade Machine screenshots trying to ship him off to Atlanta for Clint Capela or something. But even all the bad games he has are important. He’s still finding a rhythm and some consistency.
It’s easy to be upset; I understand that. Especially now, with a team whose expectations were relatively high entering the season. But I urge you to practice some patience… with everything. With Luka, with KP, with Rick… well, with the entire team, actually. Try to remember how fun things got last season. Try to remember that Dallas has only had their whole team twice this season. TWICE.
Just don’t get too worked up about what we have seen so far. KP is too good of a player not to get better. He still doesn’t even look 100% healthy.
Give him some time. It will be worth it.
Featured Image: AP