The question of whether Kristaps Porzingis is going to play center or power forward for the Dallas Mavericks this year is not a new one. What are the benefits and downfalls for each?
The addition of Kristaps Porzingis to this Dallas Mavericks team cannot be overstated. A potential top 20 talent at age 23, with a skillset that is viewed as almost entirely unguardable, KP is going to be a huge threat on the court, especially next to one of the brightest looking youngsters in the league.
At 7’3″, Porzingis really is one of the biggest players in the league by several different criteria. Not long ago, it would have been viewed as absolutely insane t consider playing a 7-footer anywhere other than the center position. Nowadays, there are 6’11” point forwards, 6’8″ centers and 7’7″ undrafted rookies.
So what are the qualities that make Kristaps either a power forward or a center and what are the downfalls of each?
Porzingis is not just a big body, he is also an elite shot blocker, averaging 2 blocks per game in his career so far. Having him in the middle is the ideal fit defensively, because he will alter the most shots out of anyone on the team. He is also a good rebounder, something the Mavs really need a lot of this year.
KP also moves very well. That would be great against opposing centers who may not be able to keep up with his foot speed and ball-handling ability. Of course, the way the game is run now, who knows what position would be guarding him.
Kristaps Porzingis is just not big enough to battle with the big boys of the league down low. He is going to be alright against the Karl-Anthony Towns or the Anthony Davis‘ of the world, but when a big boy like Nikola Jokic enters the lane, Porzingis might get pushed around a little more.
Aside from that, the main benefit of him guarding bigs is so he can be in the lane, so the thinner centers that are shooting threes will take away from that strength a little bit.
Pro: Power Forward
KP’s skill set is as a power forward without a doubt. His shooting ability, ball-handling and awareness on the court are too good to be sitting in the middle. Even with the change in position sizing and everything, Porzingis still doesn’t tick as many boxes for center as he does for power forward.
On the offensive end, he will also be able to overpower or just simply shoot over a lot of power forwards in the league. He is long enough and quick enough to stay in front on defense, without having to worry too much about big bodies.
Con: Power Forward
You lose the height in the middle if he is stuck guarding power forwards outside of the key. Although he is capable of it, it would be nice to utilize his shot blocking as much as possible this season.
He will also not get the benefit of pulling bigger defenders away from the key if he is being guarded by smaller players. Granted, there is not really an ideal matchup for defenders against Kristaps, so it’s hard to call that a complete con in this case.
The Dallas Mavericks are going to have the option to move Porzingis wherever they need him this year, due to his versatility and readiness to play. They will have to keep an eye on his fatigue considering his injury history, but all-in-all, the future is looking bright for the Mavs.