The Mavericks move on with joy knowing Porzingis’ game wasn’t ideal
After more than two years and unfulfilled hopes and expectations, the Mavericks will see their old friend Kristaps Porzingis Friday night in Washington.
Mavericks fans might feel good seeing him in a Wizards uniform instead of a Mavericks jersey.
But the truth is, we never got to see how good Porzingis could have been for the Mavericks.
And the Wizards and other teams may never know either.
There was nothing wrong with what Porzingis provided when he was healthy and performing well for the Mavericks.
The problem is that he wasn’t always healthy and he wasn’t always available to be the Mavericks’ second-best player behind Luka Dončić.
That’s why we’ll never know if Porzingis was the right fit for Luka. He just wasn’t there long enough to know. And future employers will face similar challenges
And that’s what the Mavericks had to solve when they decided to trade Latvian talent 7-3 to Washington for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertāns before the Feb. 10 deadline.
The Mavericks weren’t convinced Porzingis would ever be a reliable No. 2 for the clear No. 1 that is Luka.
And Dinwiddie turned out to be a nice play as the Mavericks exit the trade to get Porzingis, which won’t be considered a questionable move.
It was a reasonable risk, considering they didn’t give up a significant roster of players, although they did have to part with some valuable draft picks.
So what will Porzingis see when the Mavericks visit Washington on Friday?
Probably, it won’t be a major distraction for the team.
As Porzingis said after Washington’s win Wednesday over Orlando, “It’s not going to be like my first game with Dallas in New York. This one was just crazy. This one is going to be a little more just me competing against my old team.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks are more concerned with the playoff situation than playing against Porzingis.
The uncertainty of who they will play in the first round has forced them to hone their skills as much as possible to prepare for who they will play.
“We haven’t talked about any of that,” coach Jason Kidd said flatly.
The good news is that the Mavericks look very likely to start the playoffs at American Airlines Center.
They moved up to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference on Wednesday night when Phoenix beat Golden State and they’re on course to earn a spot on the court in the first round of the playoffs.
With just five games left, starting Friday night in Washington to see Porzingis, they are two games ahead of fifth-seeded Denver. And the Mavericks own the tiebreaker against the Nuggets.
So any combination of three wins or three losses in Denver wins. Utah could still be a factor, but the Jazz are half a game behind the Nuggets.
You can see why Kidd is reluctant to talk about it. There are still many possibilities.
But, if the Mavericks hang on to the No. 3 spot, they’re certain to play Utah, Denver or Golden State.
No gimmicks there, whatever.
But finishing with the highest possible seed is always positive for any team.
The Mavericks just have to mind business to do so, starting with Porzingis and the Wizards.