It quickly is becoming a pre- and post-practice “thing.”

Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic, two European players with lots in common – velvety shots, unique skills, too many losses in their short NBA careers for their tastes – go at each other in 3-point shootouts. They go around the horn, five shots from each station.

We’re not sure what’s at stake. But it’s a safe bet that more than pride is on the line.

So who’s winning these friendly, but competitive, long-range competitions?

“Today? I don’t remember today,” Porzingis said Thursday before busting into a big grin that gave away the results, a Doncic victory. “But all I know is I won the half-court shot today and that’s what counted the most. I won the half-court shot and left as a champ. And tomorrow’s a new day.”

The Mavericks’ two young stars are hoping to build a strong bond both on and off the court. And the shooting contests are part of that. If you can’t give each other a ration of razzing, then being honest on the basketball court when games really count is going to be tougher.

Porzingis and Doncic are three practices into this training camp and already there are signs that they will be just fine as they try to become a dynamic and feared combo for years to come. It’s going to be a journey, one that coach Rick Carlisle is watching with great interest.

“These guys do a lot of shooting before and after practice together,” Carlisle said. “Once we get into the season, I know that all our guys will be out together at dinners and things like that. And then the chemistry on the floor is big, too. They (Porzingis and Doncic) have played together two of the three days. We’re doing a lot of mixing of lineups.”

Doncic and Porzingis playing together often during games is a much safer bet than picking one of them in the shooting games.

The first step for Porzingis, of course, is to get back on the court. By opening night, it will have been 20 months since he tore his ACL in February, 2018.

That may be the best news in the infancy of training camp – that Porzingis feels great. In fact, he said he’s feeling better after three days of hard practices than he did after one.

“I feel great. I’m not worried one bit,” he said. “I haven’t at any point been worried about the injury. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone that long. My knee feels great and my body feels great, too.”


Carlisle said the Mavericks had another good day of practice on Thursday and that the team needs a day of recovery and will use Friday as a rest day before three more practice days.

The preseason opener is Tuesday in Tulsa against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

By then, there’s a decent chance newcomer Delon Wright (left hamstring) will be available to participate.

“We have a couple guys who are a little sore, a little banged up,” he said. “Delon Wright is doing much better. He did some sprinting (Wednesday) and did some more aggressive non-contact work today.

“Depending on how things go tomorrow, it’s looking like the weekend might be possible for him to be back on the floor doing some live stuff. So that’s good news.”


The Mavericks have five rookies on their training camp roster.

One is second-round pick Isaiah Roby, who is a virtual lock to make the final roster.

Another is Josh Reaves, a 6-5 guard out of Penn State who was signed to a two-way contract and figures to spend considerable time with the Texas Legends this season.

But he’s been well-received by the coaching staff in camp.

“He’s done great,” Carlisle said. “He had a great summer and he’s had a great three days (in camp). He’s one of the best competitors I’ve seen for an undrafted guy coming into a situation like this. We’re really excited about his game and the possibilities for him.”

However, there’s a reason why Reaves went undrafted. And he’s working to correct it.

“He’s got to keep working on the shooting,” Carlisle said. “That’s an obvious thing. He’s gotten way better than when he came here early in the summer. I just love his work ethic. He’s out here all the time. And he uses his practice and development time very wisely.”


Carlisle said Sunday’s open practice to fans at American Airlines Center (1 p.m., doors open at 11:30 a.m.) will be much like it’s been in recent years. “We’re going to have about a 45-minute practice on the practice floor downstairs,” Carlisle said. “Then we’ll come up, introduce the guys and get into a scrimmage. I don’t know what the teams will be. I’ve seen some signs that it’s an open practice. It’s really more of a scrimmage, what they (fans) will see.” … Porzingis was interested in comments by New York rookie R.J. Barrett, who said recently that Porzingis is the player he’d most like to dunk on: “That’s fine. I’m a shot blocker,” Porzingis said. “I’m one of the best shot-blockers in the league. I’m always up for the challenge. I think that’s a pretty good goal for him to try to dunk on (me). That would be cool. I respect that.”

Twitter: @ESefko


Listen to Episode 8 of Senior Old Boys with Dwain Price and Eddie Sefko

Other Day 3 Stories: 
Be it as a basketball player or a fledging movie star, Boban Marjanovic is a man of distinction who has developed varying degrees of popularity around the world. Dwain Price has more on the newest member of the Dallas Mavericks. Click here for the full story. 


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