DALLAS - After much talk about the possibility of the Dallas Mavericks adding another star alongside Luka Doncic, the team's top duo still includes Kristaps Porzingis.
Is that OK?
On a recent episode of the Open Floor: SI's NBA Show, Michael Pina and Rohan Nadkarni broke down the top 10 duos in the NBA entering the 2021-22 season.
The Mavericks did not manage to crack Nadkarni's list despite having an All-NBA First-Team talent in Luka Doncic. The rationale was that Doncic is regarded as 'the only guy' in Dallas for a potential duo.
"It's tough because I wanted to get [Luka Doncic] on this list and spoiler alert; Luka is not on this list," Nadkarni said. "He's just the one guy in Dallas."
Nadkarni pointed out the fact that Porzingis was too ineffective in the playoffs for the Mavericks to deserve a placement on the list. He also expressed how Dallas' desire to find a secondary star to pair with Doncic is all the more reason to exclude this pairing.
"The fact that the Mavs were actively looking to create a new duo this offseason is the reason why they are not on my list. I love what Kristaps was with the Knicks and I wish that situation had worked out. When he was playing healthy and sustained healthy basketball, he's one of the more exciting players in the NBA."
"We are talking about a max guy that was completely ineffective in a playoff series. And this summer was all about the Mavs 'we need to get Kyle Lowry, we need to get someone, we need to find Luka a partner, a running mate to run, someone to carry the offense, etc.' The fact that they were so actively looking for that with Kristaps on the team... I understand that with Luka, he's so talented and you want to find a way to get him on this list but it's duos and if you're doing a two-on-two tournament, or something weird, I don't know, I just don't think that they're it.
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"The Kristaps situation has taken an unfortunate turn for Dallas because that trade at the time made a lot of sense. I think that trade was a steal quite frankly, but I just don't think they're a duo. I don't think they're a tandem. I don't see it."
There was a difference of opinion from Pina, who ranked the Doncic-Porzingis duo in the eighth spot on his list despite his reservations about including Porzingis.
"[Kristaps Porzingis] being here is tough, and I understand that. This is about a weird year where Kristaps comes back from surgery on his meniscus, can't play in back-to-backs... I'm projecting forward to next season where this dude is 26...In the bubble before he got hurt was incredible and I think a lot of people forgot about that. His defense has been maligned and in every season of his career except for last year, his team's defense has been better with him on the floor.
"I know that Luka and [Porzingis] as a pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop combination are as efficient, more efficient as any other duo in basketball. This pick is less about my optimism about KP and more about being completely dumbfounded by watching Luka on the basketball court and this is an MVP candidate who is 22-years-old doing things we haven't seen since LeBron James."
"Kristaps has made an All-Star team, I don't anticipate him necessarily doing that again. I see him being better than he was last year. I see Luka being even better than he was last year and I have to give respect to Luka."
Whether the Mavericks' top stars belong a top 10 duos list in the NBA is certainly up for debate. Regardless, it's clear that a strong bounce-back season is needed from Porzingis for Dallas to achieve their goals.
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Listen to the full episode of the "Top 10 Best NBA duos" from the Open Floor: SI's NBA Show.