Just a few years ago, the Mavericks brought in Kristaps Porzingis to be a co-star to Luka Doncic and elevate Dallas to a state of contention in the West.
Now, people are talking about him being out of the league pretty soon.
According to basketball legend Stephen Jackson, that outcome is a very real possibility for the Latvian big man. Here's what he said on the "All The Smoke" podcast:
“Porzingis... he just can't get right. He just can't get right. He got the body, got the game, he just can't stay healthy. But he's been in situations to actually produce, especially in Dallas."
"They gave him a chance, even though Rick Carlisle said he wasn't the guy. I think in some kind of way he’s got to start figuring himself out now. In a year or two, if he keeps going the way he’s going, he’s going to be out of the league.”
Kristaps, 26, was picked 4th overall in the 2015 Draft. After blossoming into a star with the Knicks, he was eventually sent to Dallas with a ton of optimism and a heap of expectations. Unfortunately, the youngster has not lived up to them.
Since making his first (and only) All-Star appearance in 2018, KP has yet to hit the 20-point-per-game mark in any other season and is now down to just 24 minutes per game with the Wizards.
Still, he says the best is yet to come.
"I don't think we have seen [the best version of me] yet," Porzingis said. "I'm 26 years old, and it's been a roller coaster. There's an injury, you're out of rhythm so you have to get your rhythm back and conditioning. I think this is the perfect situation for me to finish out this season strong, get in a good rhythm, hopefully make some noise as a team. I've put in a lot of hours to be great and I feel like this is the right place for me to get to that next level."
Of course, the biggest question for Porzingis is how his body will hold up going forward. Over the past 4 seasons, he has played a total of 137 games. Since February's trade, he has only played in 3 games for his new team.
But with a fresh slate and the freedom to go his own speed, this new chapter is an opportunity for Porzingis to change the narrative of his NBA tenure, and he plans on taking advantage of it.