Kristaps Porzingis was inside a hyperbaric machine when he received a call that would change his world in just a few moments. His departure from Texas to the Washington Wizards reflects how his value has plummeted enormously in these three years.
Once considered a unicorn for its combination of technical resources and height, the interior has been plummeting since, in 2018, he suffered a severe injury to his left knee that would change his career. 2019-2020 was a mirage because the reality that has evidence in Dallas is that after what happened in the Knicks, they have made him someone more fragile, slow, and, in a way, one-dimensional.
If the triple was made unique and different from the rest in the past, in 2021-2022, it is the opposite. A career-low of 28.3% from long distance in 34 of 55 games played is the best reflection of how a career progresses.
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The town that never sleeps has one more reason to live awake; an immigrant from Latvia has led the New York Knicks to dream of a championship, averaging 22 points per game. It is what you didn’t know about Kristaps Porzingis.
He had a ball in his hands from a very young age, and his inseparable older brother, who also played professional basketball in the former Soviet Union, began to teach him his first tricks.
Kristaps Porzingis, who has become the first player in the history of the New York Knicks to reach thirty points in 4 of the first five games of a season. Brags about his good haircuts and likes to sing with his friends in the car.
The 7.3-meter-tall power forward, who also boxes suffered from chronic anemia, overcame the disease upon his arrival in the major leagues and now meets demanding exercise sessions like this one.
He wears the number 6 in honor of his brother; they have compared him to being a copy of Paul Gasol. He has something of Spanish basketball because it was in Seville where he began to bear his first fruits in addition to learning the language.
At 22 years old, the native of the Baltic countries could hit triples or run a counter-attack as a point guard; one of his achievements was having been the fourth best-selling jersey in the entire league; on the list were Kobe, Curry, LeBron, and then him.
A soccer fanatic, he exchanged jerseys with Neymar. The first soccer game he witnessed in the US was one against the NY Red Bulls.
His father was a van driver; his mother worked as a coach, then he left his native Liepaja to come to NY, where he lives today, and has scored up to 40 points because, as he says, tomorrow does not exist.
The Latvian is doing the best basketball of his NBA career. He was Famous with the Knicks in 2018, averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and 44% shooting from the field. He has 20.3 points, eight rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 45% shooting from the field this season. Although he lacks exterior success ( 28% ), we see him as more confident than ever.
Porzingis makes a difference in defense thanks to his positioning, recovery ability, and long arms. And yet he is entirely different. He is an intelligent defender whose main shortcomings are rebounding and facing heavy centers like Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic.
Also, the thing with him is that he’s connected to the team’s offensive rhythm. You have an extraordinary element if you do that, which was unworkable with Rick Carlisle last season. The unicorn that opens the track acts as a defensive anchor and destroys the paintings. Because yes, Porzingis can do a lot of damage in the painted area.
He comes from scoring 34 points against Portland, equaling his season-high, with 12 of 21 shooting (57%), including 3 of 7 on three-pointers (43%). And from his shooting, he went a fantastic 8-for-9 in the paint. What’s more, if we focus on the restricted area, he goes up to 5 out of 5.
Before delving into the analysis, here is a little extra context of the game: Portland is the worst NBA defense of a moderately competitive team with the permission of Charlotte. They were without Jusuf Nurkic, their particular boss behind. Given this, let’s go with the possession itself.
Porzingis is playing lone inside. These types of lineups offer outstanding results on both sides to Dallas, but Jason Kidd insists on continuing to exploit the Porzingis quintets plus another center. They indeed have many players (Powell, Moses Brown, Marjanovic, WCS). Still, the definitive version of the Mavs in the Playoffs is to play with Luka, Porzingis, and three perimeter shooters.
We see Kristaps post up and gain position to a Portland perimeter near the 3-pointer. The Trail Blazers’ defense is geared to their lead as Dorian Finney-Smith moves down the opposing wing. He catches the pass, slightly deflected by Larry Nance Jr., and Josh Green makes a solid baseline cut. DFS penetrates, Green occupies the space correctly and Porzingis cuts, meeting with an easy basket.
Porzingis limits by injury, but when he played, he was a real headache for the Los Angeles defense. They didn’t have a player to cover his combination of height and speed. So the Latvian took huge advantage by cutting and taking advantage of a wide-open five-person offense. We often saw this type of action in the 2020 Playoffs against the Clippers.
In this case, the oversights of the foreign line and help. Portland’s defense is what it is. Porzingis is on track with Powell and reads very well to cut to the basket. These actions reinforce him as one of the best players finishing in the restricted area: he signs 72.3% in 2021-2022, one of the best marks.
His 3.9 attempts are far from placing him among the players with the highest volume of shots in the restricted zone. Although he should continue shooting from the triple, even if the percentages do not follow. It is interesting for the Mavs to exploit the zone route as the season progresses and the Playoffs approach. There are only 26 players with the best percentage, of which 18 accumulate more attempts, most of them inside like him.
The best news for Dallas already has Kristaps back for the cause. Reflects impossible a few months ago, and it seemed that the transfer would come sooner than later. However, Kidd has involved him in the offense as a benchmark player. He is the mainstay of the Mavs without Luka Doncic. All that remains is to continue exploiting the lineups that have him as the only interior and trust and work so that the injuries respect him.
Mavericks trade Kristaps Porzingis to Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. The 7-foot-3 former All-Star reportedly is headed to Washington in exchange for guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Unable to verify your NBA partner.
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