Last month, the Dallas Mavericks acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks. Looking to build a championship contending team, the Mavericks saw fit to pair their rising rookie superstar Luka Doncic up with someone he’s very familiar with. This gives the franchise a chance to re-do the Steve Nash-Dirk Nowitzki era.
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has described the Doncic-Porzingis unit as a new version of Nash and Nowitzki. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he plans to keep Doncic and Porzingis together in Dallas “for the next 20 years.”
Doncic and Porzingis have a history together; they’ve gone toe-to-toe while representing their countries respectively. They know each other very well and Porzingis confirmed that they’ve got a great relationship.
“We just know each other from playing against each other for a long time, “Porzingis said in his introductory press conference. “And now that I have the opportunity to play with him, I’m really excited about it.“
Porzingis is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in February of 2018. He confirmed that he won’t play at all this season. He has been practicing with the Mavericks since his arrival. However, he and the Mavericks are playing it safe by having him sit out for the rest of the season.
Next season, Porzingis will be in the final year of his rookie contract. Nowitzki expressed his confidence that Porzingis won’t be going anywhere after his current deal is up, explaining that Dallas would not have acquired him if he was likely to walk out. Nowitzki even acknowledged that Porzingis has talked to him about sticking around for at least one more year.
The young duo’s ability to work as a cohesive unit is extremely important to the organization as they want their plan to be taken into action. Being friends off the court is simply not enough. Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony come to mind as that duo didn’t last in Houston for long. Dallas is looking for the friends to have success like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
Dallas is seeking to build a new golden generation in hopes of winning an NBA title again.
Doncic currently averages 20.7 points game along with an average of 2.4 three-pointers per game, the highest among rookies in both categories. During the 2017-18 season, Porzingis averaged close to 23 points a game until the injury occurred. Doncic is still learning the ways of the NBA while Porzingis has had more experience. Both could learn from Dirk on how to win and be leaders as well.
Talent is half the battle while the mental aspect is what will tip the scale for Doncic and Porzingis in Dallas’ favor.
The former overseas stars will need some help and support around them. With over $50 million in cap space this summer, the Mavs could be in the business for another star.
Center Nikola Vucevic is a good name the Mavericks should pursue during free agency. Vucevic currently averages over 20 points per game and grabs 12 rebounds. He can spread the floor too with his shooting which is needed for Luka. Vuc’s rebounding will mask Kristaps’ struggles on the glass.
Kemba Walker is another possible option. This season, he’s averaging 25 points per game with close to six assists and four rebounds. The 28-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent. The Mavericks tried to acquire him before but to no avail. Now that he’ll be unrestricted, the Mavericks will have a chance to sit down and talk to him.
Walker and Vucevic are both talented players with experience. Talent and experience are qualities the Mavericks desperately need. Especially to help both Doncic and Porzingis improve on the court and mentally.
The Mavericks have been rebuilding for well over six years now. When a team spends over half a decade rebuilding and getting nowhere, they know it’s time to acquire players with futures and assemble a young and talented duo. They’ve done so with Doncic and Porzingis. Now, they need to build around the two and so that the duo sticks around and positive results occur.