Kristaps Porzingis’ name stood center stage amid trade rumors, but Dallas Mavericks head coach, Jason Kidd, sees him as a perfect fit next to Luka Doncic.
Kidd appeared on ESPN’s The Jump on Wednesday discussing the often scrutinized pairing of Doncic and Porzingis. He didn’t offer criticism towards the star pairing. Instead, he took the time to acknowledge the potential the duo has heading into next season.
“When you look at what they can do, they both have a skill set. They know how to put the ball in the basket,” Kidd said. “When you look at KP, he can stretch the defense. His range is from halfcourt.”
Fun chat with new Mavs Coach Jason Kidd – we talked Bucks (the night Giannis won the title, he thanked Kidd for changing the path of his career), plus what he sees ahead for Luka & Dallas. And you KNOW we had him & Richard Jefferson telling stories about the old Nets days too 😂 pic.twitter.com/yA8IfkALTV
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 22, 2021
What Kidd said is true. Both players are immensely skilled. However, it is also no secret that the duo has underperformed the last two seasons.
In 2020, Porzingis ended the year injured, and he would need offseason knee surgery that cost him the start of the 2020-21 season. At the end of the 2020-21 season, Porzingis saw his role diminish greatly. He was relegated to being a spot-up shooter and cutter. His post touches disappeared. And by the end of the series, many fans and media members questioned his fit with Doncic.
In Kidd’s eyes, he sees Porzingis’ resurgence coming by way of getting him back to what he was doing in New York.
“I think getting KP back to what he did in New York,” Kidd said. “Being able to put the ball on the floor. Being able to post up. Being able to turn around and be aggressive. Being able to dunk. Getting him back to that era of his basketball when he was having fun.”
Improvement for Porzingis isn’t the only goal Kidd has heading into his first offseason as Dallas’ head coach. He also wants to help Doncic take another step forward in his game.
Kidd acknowledged there isn’t much Doncic can’t do. But the one place he sees himself helping Luka is making the game slow down and improving the 22-year-olds leadership skills.
“My job is to make the game easier for him,” Kidd said. “Understanding the game within the game, understanding how to get guys going and becoming a better leader… I want to help him in every aspect of the game to make it easy.”
Kidd grants Dallas a new perspective and a fresh voice in the locker room. He also seems confident in his ability to get the best out of the roster he is given. With the limited moves the Mavericks can make this offseason, due to a lack of NBA Draft picks, Kidd’s optimization of the players currently available is key to Dallas improving next season.
And much like Kidd said, it starts with Porzingis and Doncic.
“I am excited,” Kidd said. “We are going to get the right pieces for us to compete for a championship.”
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Feature image via Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports.