The Dallas Mavericks' playoff matchup against the LA Clippers was one that resulted in legitimate struggles from Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis was limited to underwhelming averages of 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists during the seven-game series where the Clippers' small-ball personnel posed challenges.
Former Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle received criticism for how Porzingis was deployed within the half-court offense throughout the team's playoff series. Some felt as though Porzingis was just 'stuck standing in the corner.'
The past is the past and Porzingis sounds quite optimistic about how he's being utilized by new coach Jason Kidd after the Mavericks' recent preseason action.
“I think this system fits my game better,” Porzingis said. “I’m a player that likes to use the mismatch in the post and then create situations from there.
“We were going away from that the last couple of years when I was here in Dallas, and I still found ways how to try to be effective and do what’s best for the team and what the coaching staff was asking me. But I felt like, yeah, this is a part of my game that I’m not using it, and this year we’re unlocking that.”
There has been optimism from the Mavericks organization after Porzinigs' play in the preseason, too.
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Kidd has taken notice of Porzingis' play from the preseason and mentioned he sees 'excitement' and 'joy' while he's been playing.
“KP’s been great on both sides of the floor,” Kidd said. “I think you can see the excitement – the joy of playing.”
The level of impact Porzinigs will manage to provide the Mavericks is one of the top questions the team faces entering the season. The preseason has offered an optimistic view, which is key for a player Kidd has 'big plans' for this season.
The Mavericks will play their preseason finale against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday with many key players sidelined for rest, including Kristaps Porzingis.
To open the regular season, the Dallas Mavericks will take on the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena on Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. (CT).