DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks made headlines this offseason after no shortage of significant changes. Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle both no longer are with the organization. Additionally, Kristaps Porzingis was a staple in trade rumors, but there's a clean slate after a coaching change.
During a recent episode of The Hoop Collective Podcast, Brian Windhorst, Tim MacMahon, and Tim Bontemps discussed a few players who appear to be entering a 'make or break season.'
After a disappointing playoff run with the Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis was among the names listed. MacMahon brought up that Porzingis' wanted to be traded' after how it ended but instead views the upcoming as a fresh start after a coaching change.
"I'll say this: at the end of last year, Porzingis wanted to be traded," MacMahon said. "My understanding is he feels like he has a fresh start with the coaching change. He's had a healthy offseason. He's been able to work, not just on his game but on his body some more. That he's coming back with a refreshed feel.
"At the end of last year, he wasn't going to come out and ask for a trade. He's smart enough to understand the optics."
"He's already done that once," Windhorst said.
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"But at the end of last year, when he stood in the corner and checked the wind for an entire playoff series, he was hoping to be traded," added MacMahon. "From what I gather, he's coming back optimistic now."
With Porzingis having a renewed sense of optimism regarding his situation with the Mavericks, there needs to be some change for that to end up being warranted. Or else, a player with lowered trade value could end up being a problem.
A common sentiment seems to be the need to involve Porzingis more as a rim-roller as opposed to having a 7-foot-3 player standing behind the three-point line putting up three-pointer after three-pointer.
The main issue is that Porzingis hasn't displayed enough ferocity as a rim-roller to be a frequently utilized option. He also has mightily struggled to capitalize on mismatches after switches occur. If the opportunities come, he needs to be ready to execute.
The most the Mavericks can do is put Porzingis in positions he can succeed. He was relegated to being a floor-spacer often in the playoffs. Still, regardless, much of that was due to his limitations against a talented LA Clippers switch-everything, small-ball unit.
There's a middle ground where the reality of the situation appears to be. Porzingis did not execute well enough against the Clippers, but also, they are a unique team with their switching capabilities. Neutral coverages that occur in the regular season or a unit with a big man are far more comfortable than the Clippers for Porzingis to face.
The Mavericks and Porzingis need what is viewed as a fresh start with new head coach Jason Kidd to translate to greater results. Without Porzingis playing at a high level, Dallas does not have a player capable of being a No. 2 next to Luka Doncic. It also becomes challenging to move him in a trade if his value is low.