The last four months of no live sports has left lots of room to think about the future. Thinking about the immediate future is usually depressing, so I tend to think about the far future. I was doing just that the other afternoon while playing NBA 2K. I was the GM of the Dallas Mavericks, and we were damn good. That got me thinking about the real-life viability of the Luka Doncic-Kristaps Porzingis pairing. Honestly? The sky is the limit.
Porzingis played for the first time in a while this year. He tore his ACL in February 2018 and was traded to the Mavs a year later, but didn't suit up until the fall of 2019. He played in 51 of 67 possible games this season and was still getting back into the swing of things, but averaged 19 points per game with two blocks while shooting 35 percent from three on seven tries per contest.
It was also the first time Porzingis has had to share the ball as a fully-realized player, which is an adjustment in of itself. He spent the first two seasons of his NBA career with Carmelo Anthony, but didn't transform into the elite offensive player and shot-swatter we know him as now until Anthony left town. He had a 26 percent usage rate this year, which is significantly lower than the 31 percent usage rate he posted in his last, All-Star season in New York. This season, Doncic was also more ball-dominant than even Anthony was during Porzingis' early years.
Porzingis signed a multi-year extension to stay in Dallas for the foreseeable future, and you can bet your mortgage on Dallas giving Doncic literally whatever he wants when the time comes to extend him. The two will have more than enough time to get acclimated. Once that happens, their offensive potential is tantalizing. If Porzingis can shoot close to 40 percent from deep like he did in 2017-18, his shooting will offset Doncic's struggles from there (31 percent from downtown this season).
Defensively, it's a bit more of a question mark. Doncic will probably top off as a fine defender. Porzingis has a feel for shot-blocking but still has some work to do before being considered a legit rim protector. That doesn't matter as much when you're running the league's best offense, though. Doncic is only going to get better, as hard as that is to believe, and once Porzingis is both fully comfortable on the court and with Doncic, there's nothing they can't do. Double Doncic off the pick-and-roll and give Porzingis a wide-open three, or let Doncic tear your defense apart without trapping him. A real Catch-22.
They'll be so fun to watch. I can't wait.