Jason Kidd, Mark Cuban defend Kristaps Porzingis after struggles: 'He’s been unfairly maligned'

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While he’s had solid stretches, Kristaps Porzingis’ time with the Dallas Mavericks has been largely disappointing.

He struggled in the playoffs, frequently battled injuries and even failed at times to mesh well with star Luka Doncic.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and new head coach Jason Kidd, however, said they aren’t concerned about their center. The criticism he has faced, Cuban said Tuesday, isn’t fair.

“I think he’s been unfairly maligned,” Cuban said, via the Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan. “During the playoffs, he did exactly what he was asked to do. Exactly.”

Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis
Both Jason Kidd and Mark Cuban defended Kristaps Porginzis' struggles in Dallas, and think he's still the perfect fit for Luka Doncic. (AP/Ashley Landis)

Kidd excited about Porzingis, Doncic duo

That may be the case, but it wasn’t enough.

Porzingis averaged 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds during their playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers last month, both significantly down from what he put up during the regular season. He was held to single-digit scoring three times in the seven game series, and had more than five rebounds in a single game twice.

Most important, Porzingis and the Mavericks lost the series after opening with a 2-0 lead. The team has yet to advance out of the first round of the playoffs since the 2010-11 season, when they won the NBA Finals.

Porzingis averaged 20.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game during the regular season, but he played in only 43 games, the lowest he has played since the New York Knicks drafted him No. 4 overall in 2015, other than when he had to miss the entire 2018-19 season due to an ACL injury.

Despite his struggles in Dallas, Kidd said he believes in what Porzingis can bring to the team alongside Doncic.

"I think he's excited, he's ready to work, and I think you're going to see a different KP," Kidd said, via ESPN. "This is a positive summer for him. He's healthy. I think he's really excited about this opportunity. I think he's a perfect fit for Luka. He has a skill set that a lot of people don't have in this league. As a coach, I'm very excited to be able to work with him."

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