Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic on the floor together are many things, but what they haven’t been until this season is an elite dynamic duo.
“I think we can be one of the best duos in the league,” Porzingis said. “I truly believe that.”
Porzingis’ belief isn’t ill-found. When he’s been healthy, coupled with Doncic, the two — on paper — have looked like one of the most menacing one-two punches in the league.
Take Tuesday night’s win over the LA Clippers as an example. He and Doncic combined for 56 points and seamlessly played off each other during the game’s closing moments. When Doncic faced double-teams in the overtime quarter, Porzingis found the gaps and soft spots on the floor.
In a game that shouldn’t have gone to overtime in the first place, Porzingis — playing off Doncic — made sure Dallas ended up on the high side. Yet, the duo is just scratching the surface of what they can be.
“Honestly, it’s just easy,” Porzingis said. “Easy opportunities are there because of Luka. He makes the game so much easier for everyone else. They have to double team him, and we just make the next play.”
When are Doncic and Porzingis at their best?
Last season, Doncic and Porzingis didn’t look dynamic. Porzingis was standing in the corner, and Doncic was dominating the ball.
What has changed this season is head coach Jason Kidd allows Porzingis to operate as the loan big on the floor for extended periods.
In doing so, Porzingis is free to post-up, rim run, and hunt his midrange jump shot. He also becomes a dynamic pick-and-roll threat with Doncic as the primary ballhandler.
Two seasons ago, when Dallas found success in the NBA bubble, that was the offensive secret — Porzingis at the center spot, with Doncic running the show. The result: Dallas possessed offensive dexterity and flexibility in its matchups and could play with anyone on any night.
Now, Kidd, Porzingis and Doncic are trying to channel that magic in a bottle once more. And Porzingis believes that if they do, Dallas will be a difficult team to stop.
“We’re communicating more. That’s extremely important,” Porzingis said to NBA.com. “We’re off to a good start. I love playing with Luka. It’s hard to find that type of talent to play with, so you have to appreciate that. He makes the game easier for everybody. He does take a lot of the attention off of everybody.”
The hope is that lightning can strike twice in Dallas. And if it does, the stars are the limit because the writing ‘the sky’ might be too limiting for the European stars.
“They complement each other,” team owner Mark Cuban said to NBA.com. “KP can create space. When Luka is not in there, KP can get closer to the basket and score for us. Defensively, he’s been amazing with blocking shots and running and cutting and we’re doing a lot more back-screen cutting. But I still don’t think KP has played his best basketball yet. I think he’s still getting comfortable.”
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Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.