DALLAS - A brutally honest Kristaps Porzingis is maybe being too brutal in his self-analysis regarding his season start with the Dallas Mavericks. But he's about to oppose his former team when the New York Knicks come to the AAC tonight, and about that he says, "I can't wait to fix this.''
No, KP is not talking about "fixing'' his relationship with the Knicks, a breakup that led to last year's blockbuster trade that brought him to Dallas in exchange for picks and Dennis Smith Jr. (who, by the way, tells DallasBasketball.com that he won't be in Dallas tonight while mourning the passing of his stepmom). Porzingis wants to "fix'' the elements of his game that he views as being subpar in his first seven games following 20 months of knee rehab and physical rebuilding.
“I just want to play well and win games and show what I know I’m capable of. But right now, I’m not there yet,” Porzingis said Wednesday night after contributing to Dallas' 107-106 win over the Magic at American Airlines Center. “I’m not there yet, and that is very frustrating.”
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But maybe it's actually a positive that Porzingis is taking very seriously his relative failures.
"I’m happy that we were able to get the win with me playing as awful as I did,” Porzingis said. “Onto the next one. I want to figure this thing out. Once I get back to where I want to get back, it will feel even better going through this right now. I just want to figure it out as soon as possible, but I have to give myself time and I have to make it simple for myself.”
What better time to simplify and to succeed than tonight, against a Knicks team that is off to a 1-7 start?
“It’s another game. It’s another game,” Porzingis said about facing his old team. “I’m looking forward to the game and getting a win most importantly, but also for myself individually I want to get back in my groove.”
Porzingis is averaging almost 20 points per game, along with eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks per. That's stand-out stuff. But KP's message, really, is how much better he can be.
That goes for opposing the Knicks tonight; surely he has "something to prove'' here. But the 5-2 Mavs now have bigger goals than dealing with "grudge matches.'' The goal is playoff contention, and if Porzingis can inch his level of play closer up to the work being done by Luka Doncic and others?
“I want to get a win. That’s what I want to get,” KP said. “I want to keep winning. We’re 5-2. I haven’t played well once. We have so much more room to grow as a team. That’s the crazy thing. Myself, maybe other guys also struggling in some moments, we’re still able to win games. Once I think we all put this thing together we can be a force and I’m looking forward to that.”