With Luka playing MVP level basketball, Dallas knows surrounding him with a championship-caliber roster is a priority. That mission starts with pairing the Slovenian wunderkind with a superstar, and the Mavs placed their bet on Kristaps Porzingis. From the moment he arrived in Dallas, Mavs fans have been wondering one thing – can Porzingis stay healthy? That’s not a question you want to be asking about a player you’re paying $30 million a year.
Any player who had a serious injury says the most surprising part about rehab is how difficult it is to be away from the team. You miss out on the camaraderie and team-building that happens on the plane, bus, and in the hotel. That’s why teams bring players along as soon as it doesn’t significantly impact their rehab – Klay Thompson has been traveling with the Warriors lately, for example.
All that time away from the team has impacted the chemistry between Luka and KP. The fact they are not the friends they used to be when Porzingis first joined the team is not a big secret in the Mavericks universe. Mark Cuban spoke openly about that fact and if the Mavs are concerned about it.
“On the court they are fine. That’s not to say their aren’t dust-ups, because there are.”Mark Cuban, 105.3 The Fan visit on “K&C Masterpiece.
Of course, the ultimate scenario is to have a team that works on the court and had great chemistry off the court. That sort of camaraderie helps in difficult situations. But fans often idealize the concept of off-court chemistry. A lot of very successful teams didn’t celebrate birthdays together etc. and still kicked ass on the court. Dallas has experience with this.
“I’d compare it to Jet and Dirk. They weren’t best friends at the beginning, but they grew to like each other and grew to be great friends and that’s just part of the process when you’ve got young kids who are growing up. It took forever before Dirk and Jet did anything off the court together. A long time.”Mark Cuban, 105.3 The Fan visit on “K&C Masterpiece.
As long as Luka and Kristaps are working well on the court, the Mavericks have nothing to worry about. The main questionmark there is and will be KP’s ability to stay on the court. Their games work well together, and an occasional on-court conflict is a good thing – it means people care. Rick Carlisle and his staff are more than capable of handling such situations, and sometimes even stoking the competitive fire a little bit.
“Coaches coach, and coach (Rick Carlisle) kind of runs the show so everything gets worked out on the court. … (But) KP and Luka get along fine. It’s just that they’re different people. They like to do different things.”Mark Cuban, 105.3 The Fan visit on “K&C Masterpiece.
The Mavericks are sitting at 7th in the West, fighting to avoid the play-in tournament. If Luka and Kristaps are healthy when the regular season ends, no team will be happy to see them on the schedule, no matter what seed they are, or the current condition of their bromance.