DALLAS - Kristaps Porzingis came to Dallas from New York already knowing what he and young Mavs star Luka Doncic could be capable of accomplishing together. Having known one another since their early days in Europe, both players were not only well aware of each other's strengths but already had the kind of pre-existing relationship that NBA franchises covet between their players.
As the Mavs opened up the 2019 pre-season with Media Day on Monday, Porzingis' confidence and eagerness to return to the court were apparent, and he did not shy away from the questions about his on-floor expectations with Luka.
“In our mind, we have to make the playoffs," Porzingis said to the media on Monday. "That’s the goal for us. There is no other goal for us... We believe that with this group, we’re capable of that.”
Neither player has been to the postseason in their careers and at the combined age of just 44 years old, that is not a surprise. But it is also hardly a surprise that the pair is confident in their abilities to mesh with one another.
Both players fit the other's game to near perfection, with Doncic's uncanny ability to play make on offense, and the versatile offensive skill set of Porzingis, who excels in the pick and roll game, from the perimeter, or with his back to the basket.
It is a fine concept, even a tantalizing one, but to maximize it, both Porzinigs and Luka know that they need to develop their chemistry and feel for one another in live game situations.
“I think it’s going to be pretty simple; just the two-man game,” said Porzingis. “Whatever it is, pick-and-roll; pick and pop. We’re going to have to read each other. That’s where I think we’re going to have to find out that chemistry, where he knows when I’m going to pop and when I’m going to roll.”
The confidence in what their symbiotic on-floor relationship could become isn't just limited to the two players either, and as head coach Rick Carlisle explained to the media contingent on Monday, he is also excited about the idea.
"I feel (Doncic and Porzingis) will complement each other well, and I think those two guys compliment the rest of our group very well, and vice versa," Carlisle said. "So there is a lot to be excited about."
For Carlisle, however, it is about more than just what his European duo can do on the floor, but also about what they can accomplish for the organization as a whole from a cultural standpoint.
“One thing that’s a little scary, but also very exciting," he said, "is that this group of guys led by Doncic and Porzingis has a chance to define what the Mavericks culture is going to be like going forward."
With the season right around the corner, all of that excitement and conjecture will have to turn into an actual on-court product sooner rather than later. Until then, we are left to wonder what the tangible limits there are, if any, to the type of two-man offensive juggernaut Doncic and Porzingis are capable of becoming.
“If they want to switch, he can attack the mismatch; or I can attack the mismatch," Porzingis explained. "I think it could be a nightmare for the teams going forward. We just have to develop that chemistry on the floor.”