The Dallas Mavericks came into the 2020-21 season as one of the teams many expected to take a step forward. That’s in large part due to the presence of preseason MVP favorite Luka Doncic entering his third season and the expectation that with a slightly retooled roster around him, the Mavs would be among the top contenders in the West.
Thus far, the Mavs have treaded water to the tune of a 5-4 record that’s included some incredible highs (a 51-point win over the Clippers) and rather stunning lows (losses to Charlotte and Chicago). Their middling record is due largely to an offense that has taken a step back, going from a historically good group a year ago to the 15th best offense in the league, per NBA Stats.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Mavs offense has fallen off from last year’s pace as they’ve played their first nine games without the services of their second star, Kristaps Porzingis. A year ago, Porzingis averaged just north of 20 points per game and gives this offense such a unique dynamic when he’s on the floor that simply can’t quite be replicated no matter the combination of players Rick Carlisle throws out there. The good news for Dallas is that Porzingis is making his return on Monday night when they play host to the Pelicans after being cleared from rehab from offseason knee surgery, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis is set to make his season debut tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Porzingis missed the first nine games of the season due to offseason knee surgery.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 11, 2021
One would expect the Mavs to continue being cautious with Porzingis, given he’s had lingering knee problems for some time, but even if he’s sitting out back-to-backs, his presence is going to provide a major boost to this Mavs offense and we’ll see if they can ride that to a bit of a jump up the standings.