In a trade last week, the Mavericks acquired Kristaps Porzingis to pair with rookie sensation Luka Doncic. Both players made waves in Europe before being drafted early in the first round to start their NBA careers respectively.
The Dallas front office will be hoping to tie down the soon-to-be restricted free agent to a long-term deal in order to keep him and Doncic together for a long time to come. They have of course already had great success when it comes to European stars with German former MVP Dirk Nowitzki.
Before suffering an ACL tear last year ‘The Unicorn’ was on a tear and earned himself his first All-Star selection. His ability to shoot from beyond the arc has made him an offensive force in ways that perhaps many had not anticipated when he first entered the league in 2015.
Prior to his injury Porzingis had been averaging 22.7 points per game, but the biggest improvement was on the defensive side of the ball, averaging a career-high 2.4 blocks per game. This side of his game could also hep the Mavericks who included DeAndre Jordan in the trade for Latvian.
It is clear that by dealing Jordan, they believe that Porzingis can provide much more on both sides of the ball than the big man they had pursued for two straight years in free agency. Should he return this season, the Maverick’s slim chances of making the playoffs could be boosted in a major way.
The trade of Dennis Smith Jr. should also see an even more expanded offensive role for Doncic as they prepare to pair their two European stars for next season. It should provide the front office with an even better look at the man they hope to build their franchise around after using the 3rd pick on him in the 2018 draft.
It was international basketball the last time these two took the court as they battled when Latvia took on Slovenia. They both led their countries into battle and showcased their talent that could combine to cause opposing teams headaches with their ability to both take control on offence when their team needs it the most.
There are a lot of ‘if’s’ surrounding the Porzingis trade though. The success of this deal will be decided on if they are able to re-sign the restricted free agent when his contract runs out in the summer. If they are able to use free agency to help provide their two young stars with the veterans that can help nurture their talent. And If Porzingis can return from his injury at the same level he was performing at prior then they could have made the deal that provides them with a European dynasty for years to come.
By Sonny Cohen