After two-plus years and some unfulfilled hopes and expectations, the Mavericks will see their old pal Kristaps Porzingis Friday night in Washington.
Mavericks fans might feel great about seeing him in a Wizards uniform instead of a Mavericks jersey.
But the truth is that we never got to see how good Porzingis might have been for the Mavericks.
And the Wizards and other teams may never know, either.
There was nothing wrong with what Porzingis supplied when he was healthy and performing for the Mavericks.
The problem is that he wasn’t always healthy and he wasn’t always available to be the Mavericks’ second-best players behind Luka Dončić.
That’s why we’ll never know whether Porzingis was the right fit. He simply wasn’t around long enough to find out. And future employers will have to face similar that same challenge.
That’s what the Mavericks addressed when they decided to trade the 7-3 Latvian talent to Washington for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertāns before the Feb. 10 deadline.
The Mavericks weren’t sold on whether Porzingis ever would be a reliable No. 2 to the clear No. 1 they know they have in Luka.
Dinwiddie has proven to be a nice piece as the Mavericks move along from the original trade to get Porzingis, which won’t go down as a questionable move, by the way. It was a reasonable risk, given that they didn’t give up a major supply of players, although they did have to part with some valuable draft picks.
So what will Porzingis see when the Mavericks visit Washington on Friday?
Likely, it won’t be a major distraction for team.
As Porzingis said after Washington’s Wednesday win against Orlando: “It’s not going to be like my first game with Dallas in New York. That one was just crazy. This one is going to be a bit more just me competing against my old team.”
Meanwhile, the Mavericks are more concerned about the playoff situation than they are about playing against Porzingis.
The uncertainty about who they will play in the first round has left them in a position of having to just hone their skills as much as possible to get ready for whoever they play.
“We haven’t talked about any of that,” coach Jason Kidd said flatly.
The good news is that the Mavericks look very likely to start the playoffs at American Airlines Center.
They moved into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference late Wednesday night when Phoenix beat Golden State and they are tantalizingly close to clinching a home-court berth in the first round of the playoffs.
With just five games left, starting Friday night at Washington to see Porzingis, they are two games ahead of fifth-seeded Denver. And the Mavericks own the tiebreaker against the Nuggets.
So any combination of three wins or three Denver losses clinches it. Utah could still be a factor, but the Jazz are half-a-game behind the Nuggets.
You can see why Kidd is adverse to talking about it. There still are lots of possibilities.
But, if the Mavericks hang on to the No. 3 spot, they are certain to play Utah, Denver or Golden State.
No gimmes there, regardless.
But finishing with the highest possible seed is always a positive for any team.
The Mavericks simply have to take care of business to do that, starting with Porzingis and the Wizards.
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