In 2015 a skinny 7’3” kid in from Latvia strolled across a stage on Barclays Center. The unknown giant is peppered with boos by unsuspecting fans. He smiles confidently as he shakes commissioner Adam Silver’s hand. A Knicks cap snuggly clamped to his head dips as he speaks to the reporter waiting for him at the end of the steps.
That’s just the beginning of the story for a man best known as the unicorn. Kristaps Porzingis played his way into rarified air in his rookie year reaching stat lines that hadn’t been replicated since some of the league’s greatest big men graced the court. As his career continued, his star rose to crescendo into a devastating injury that blocked his easily foreseeable All-star future.
While Porzingis worked his way through the NBA’s ranks another European prodigy was making a name for himself across the pond. In 2015 Luka Doncic was finally green-lighted to play for the legendary Real Madrid of the ACB. A move earned through years of dominating the competition in his age group.
As young Mr. Doncic grew in confidence, he conquered his new surroundings. As his team poured in wins his production advanced far beyond anything a teenager has ever done before. Winning the ACB best young player award twice just wasn’t enough for the young phenom. He pounced on the league earning MVP honors before he could legally drink in the States.
That’s when the legend of Luka grew. As generals managers, scouts, and reporters made a flight to Spain the hottest ticket in basketball a certain player’s name was etched at the top of 2018 draft boards. And on June 21st many NBA fans finally saw the Slovenian superstar in all his of his glory. With no summer league experience casual fans didn’t know what to expect from the Euro league MVP but in just a few weeks the NBA community wouldn’t be able to look away from the foreign entity.
On Jauary 31st the two European stars stories intertwined. The kindred spirits who have only shared the court as foes will now usher in a new era in Dallas. Buzz hasn’t surrounded a young Mavericks core like the since Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki graced the hardwood.
Kristaps Porzingis on playing with Luka Doncic:
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) February 4, 2019
The Mavs have invested in their future like no other rebuilding team has in recent years. The trade sent their backcourt of the future away and in return will have a dynamic pick and role combination.
Having two of the game’s most promising talents creates a new realm for Dallas. The game no longer becomes which big name free agent will come to play for but who can fill roles around the newly lamented Euro bros.
The Mavericks coaching staff are tasked with getting the best out of Doncic and Porzingis. While we know how Luka finds lob threats looming in the paint i.e. DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Powell, we’ve yet to see of Kristaps has the same bounce he once had.
As Dallas has yet again made another chess move in the 2018-2019 season, there will be questions moving forward. Thankfully Dallas goes into next season knowing one thing for certain their two-man core of Doncic and Porzingis are unlike any other in the entire league.