Much like your favorite holiday get-togethers, Sports Illustrated's annual top-100 list invokes genuine discourse with a touch of disdain. While the 2020-21 season wasn't a star-level campaign from Kristaps Porzingis, Sports Illustrated still found a spot for him on its famous list.
Porzingis averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds during an arduous season filled with COVID protocols and various scheduling issues. Claiming Luka Doncic doesn't have help is a bit of an overstatement. Despite the 7'3 center's lack of consistency in the 2021 postseason, the double-double production from the regular season warrants recognition.
Sports Illustrated ranked Porzingis as its 58th best player coming into the 2021-22 NBA season. Notable players listed lower than the Mavericks' frontcourt star: D'Angelo Russell, OG Anunoby, Christian Wood.
Despite the criticism surrounding Porzingis, such recognition provides a glimpse of hope for the coming season.
Once upon a time, Tim Hardaway Jr was perceived as a salary dump in the Kristaps Porzingis' trade package. Now, the efficient volume-shooter remains one of Doncic's best teammates.
It's amazing what a change of scenery can do for someone.
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Although Hardaway Jr.’s tenure with Dallas hasn't come with any hardware (aside from a few defense championship belt), his on-court presence alleviates the pressure for Doncic, as inevitable double-teams unleash on the high-usage superstar.
Hardaway Jr ranks 96th on the star-studded list. Going from "is he even good?" critiques to averaging 17 points on 40-percent 3-point shooting versus the Los Angeles Clippers last postseason is quite the career turnaround.
One more.time: Claiming Luka Doncic has no help is a bit of an overstatement. Both Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis provide the superstar with a form of much-needed relief; it’s just that more help is needed.
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