Right before last week’s NBA trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks made a move that many people had been predicting for a couple of seasons now: they traded Kristaps Porzingis.
The Latvian big man was traded for Washington Wizards players Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.
Wizards are trading Spencer Dinwiddie to the Mavs for Kristaps Porzingis, per @ShamsCharania pic.twitter.com/cY9UqjRrW8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 10, 2022
This decision marks the end of three difficult and frustrating seasons with the Mavericks – seasons in which the team had high hopes for Porzingis and were constantly let down by the idea of what could have and should have been.
New Heights In New York
When Porzingis first made a splash in the NBA, it was with the New York Knicks back in the 2015-2016 season.
That first year had Porzingis racking up 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks a game.
Things only got better for Porzingis with the Knicks: his stats rose in the following season, reaching a high of 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks a game in the 2017-2018 season.
The usually harsh New York crowd was more than happy with the tall, lanky player, who they soon dubbed the “unicorn.”
But shortly after reaching those heights in New York, The Unicorn was sent packing to Texas.
When Porzingis was sent to the Mavericks in 2019, many people assumed he would bring in a new, exciting era for the struggling Dallas team.
Yet, these lofty expectations were never met…and that’s partly because of the team’s bigger star: Luka Doncic.
Luka Loves Kristaps?
Two things held Porzingis back from achieving the success people had expected: his injuries and his iconic teammate.
Anyone who follows Porzingis’ career knows that he is prone to injuries.
Again and again, the big man was hurt and sidelined because of physical mishaps.
It got to the point that people were referring to him as The Unicorn because no one could ever lay eyes on him.
“He’s the unicorn because you hardly ever see him” 😬😬😬
– Tim Legler on Kristaps Porzingis pic.twitter.com/76u0KLriwj
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 10, 2022
Obviously, an injured player doesn’t have the ability to truly mesh with a team and help them play as a cohesive unit.
When Porzingis was healthy, all was well but when he was hurt, his chemistry with the rest of the squad suffered.
Porzingis obviously has legitimate talent that cannot be denied but it seeing it on the floor often became a rare event.
All of Porzingis’ injuries occurred as the team found success in superstar Doncic.
Doncic quickly became the heart and soul of the team and the future of the franchise.
This meant that Porzingis, who some had predicted could possibly be the team’s leader, was relegated to Doncic’s sidekick.
And that ended up being a position that Porzingis wasn’t really good at playing.
The truth is that Doncic and Porzingis never really complimented each other in terms of playstyles.
As Doncic continued to soar, Porzingis looked more and more out of place on the team.
The Mavericks found more success with Doncic and so they began adapting to him.
In other words, they put all their eggs in the Doncic basket, Porzginis became less and less important and, consequently, suffered more.
His numbers experienced an uptick this last season and some thought he was stating his case to stay with the team.
In the end, the Mavericks instead decided they were tired of a player who was hurt often and never really jelled with their obvious star.
NEXT: The Mavericks Are Finally Clicking With Jason Kidd