With the Dallas Mavericks at home following the rest of the NBA playoffs, reports are circulating that the team is unsure about Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis’ tandem. According to these rumors, Porzingis is dissatisfied with his role in the team and with Doncic’s control of the ball.
Their common struggles were shown in the loss of the series from seven games against the Los Angeles Clippers. Doncic averaged 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.3 assists, while Porzingis averaged 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Regulated half the time on the three-point line, he shot a dismal 29.6% off the three-point range.
This isn’t the kind of production you’d expect if you paid Porzingi’s nearly $ 30 million per season. With a looming contract extension for Doncic, the Mavericks bosses have to make some tough decisions.
Be it through trade or through a free agency, the Mavericks must seriously consider whether the duo of Doncic and Porzingis can work in the first round after the second year in a row. When looking for potential candidates, we limited ourselves to five candidates who do not fit well and five candidates who fit well.
5 superstars who wouldn’t be a good fit
5. Stephen Curry
Curry likes to be the focus of the offensive. Doncic needs someone who can move without a ball. Asking Curry to move the ball wouldn’t go well. At Golden State, Curry is essentially at the core of their offensive, and rightly so after earning his second NBA scoring title of his career.
In addition, the system of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is very experienced. Once Thompson returns, the Warriors’ old offensive should return to normal, making Curry essentially impossible to move.
4. Damian Lillard
Lillard is a pure shooter and his own ball-dominant player. After Portland lost for the fourth time in the first round of the playoffs in the past five years, this led to the “mutual separation” between the team and nine-year-old head coach Terry Stotts.
Nobody doubts that Lillard is one of the best players in the league. However, we’re starting to wonder if Lillard is a player to win a championship with. If things don’t change in Dallas, the same questions might arise in Dallas.
3. Kevin Durant
Durant is somewhere in the middle between ball dominant and not. He has shown that he can share touch with both Kyrie Irving and James Harden. In the end, Durant is the player who takes the last shot in crunch time.
In 2012, when the Thunder made the NBA Finals, it was Durants’ team, not Hardens. It’s the same with the Brooklyn Nets, which Irving understands. Since Doncic is only 22 years old, he still has time to prove that he can be “the man”. If Durant would join him, it would force Doncic to play in his shadow for the time being.
2. LeBron James
That would be a terrible matchup. Doncic led the league in offensive action last season. Doncic is used on offense 36% of the time, which comes from a season he was used 36.8% of the time in 2020.
While these numbers suggest the Mavericks may need to change their offensive, LeBron is used equally. LeBron was used with the Lakers 31.9% of the time. There wouldn’t be enough touches for every player on the pitch at the same time.
1. James Harden
During the 2018-2019 season, Harden was deployed on the Rockets Offensive 40.8% of the time. Harden and Doncic would be a nightmare at the same time. You are the same player and your team would not be competitive.
Check out the Washington Wizards with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. Both are ball-dominated players who collect individual stats. What did that bring you this year? A playoff-off in the first round. Doncic has been there for two years in a row.
5 superstars who would be a perfect fit
5. Joel Embiid
Embiid calls for the ball, but maybe that’s a good thing? Porzingis is much more passive than Embiid and does not require a presence at the post. Embiid has proven to be a solid inside-outside threat that stretches the bottom.
By stretching the ground, Doncic was able to enter with more space, attract defenders, and find an open shooter who could make another pass on Embiid. Instead of the defense expecting Porzingis to swim on the three-point line, it would force the opposing defense to be on their toes.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis offers defense but one of the better pick and roll options in the league. Porzingis did not warm to the idea of the pick-and-roll option. He’s not strong and physical enough to pull off this type of offense, which is why he usually hovered on the wing, waiting for a pass.
This matchup would be possibly the best pick and roll offensive in the entire league. Doncic would have the option of his own, but also the easy give and go. Not to mention, this rebounding tandem would be hard to keep off the glass.
3. Anthony Davis
While this matchup is unlikely in the next few years, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t turn out well. Davis is a great defender, a strong rebounder like Doncic, but could also offer a pick and roll option.
Davis is overall the better offensive player compared to Giannis, which is why he is ranked higher. Both are defensively respectable as Davis was Giannis’ runner-up in the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year ranking.
2. Kawhi Leonard
Imagine the combination of these two. This would have a vintage Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook feel to it. This tandem made Oklahoma City Thunder one of the best teams in the league, seeding down to # 1 and appearing in the 2012 NBA finals.
Leonard has a player option at the end of the season. If he doesn’t pick it up, the Mavericks will be one of his many admirers in the league. Offensively, defensively and culturally, Leonard would make Dallas a top 2 team in the west.
1. Nikola Jokic
This would be the best duo in the league since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. For starters, the numbers, style, and courage Doncic displays at just 22 years old are reminiscent of Bryant’s classic cars of the late 90s and early 2000s. Doncic can do almost anything Bryant could do at a young age, if not better.
Jokic may not be as strong a rebounder as Shaq, but he’s a better passer and finisher. Jokic is the best passing center in the league and could be an argument for being a top 10 passer in the league. The combined production of these two would be nearly 50 points, 17 rebounds, and 14 assists per night.
In the end, the combination of Doncic and Jokic would bring title ambitions to any city they live in. It could be Denver or Dallas. Should these two ever team up, the chances of an NBA championship would be high.
Bryant and Shaq together won three championships in a row. How many could the two win together?