Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out for the remainder of the first round after being diagnosed with a torn meniscus, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
Effect on the Team
This is a huge blow for the Mavericks but one that is not too surprising. He sustained in the injury during Game 1 of the Maverick’s first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle commented yesterday that Porzingis’s participation in Game 6 was “very doubtful”.
This is not the first time Porzingis has dealt with knee issues. In February 2018, Porzingis tore his ACL while still playing for the New York Knicks. He also dealt with knee soreness after different periods during the season. That included missing a 10 game stretch in December and January.
With the Clippers already up 3-2 in the series, the loss of Porzingis just might be the nail in the coffin for the Mavericks. While superstar point guard Luka Doncic has been phenomenal, the loss of Porzingis is a big one to a team already lacking big men.
In the six games, he was active for the initial seeding games, Porzingis averaged 30.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game on stellar 38% shooting from beyond the arc. In the three games versus the Clippers in the first round, Porzingis averaged 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on even better shooting marks.
Distribution of Vacated Minutes
The Mavericks are down to their reserve big men after Porzingis’s injury. The team lost breakout center Dwight Powell to an Achilles tear on January 21st. It was in a game that was, coincidentally enough, also against the Clippers. They also lost Willie Cauley-Stein after he opted out of the bubble return due to the birth of his son in July.
That leaves Maxi Kleber and Boban Marjanovic as the only remaining centers on the roster. While both are solid rotational centers, neither are starting-caliber. They certainly won’t be able to replicate the production and floor spacing ability that Kristaps Porzingis brought to the team.