Dallas Mavericks elected to trade for former All-Star Kristap Porzingis and then gave him a five-year extension worth $158 million. They hoped that Porzingis would be a part of a one, two punch and Luka Doncic to contend for championships.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, that has not happened in two playoff appearances in back-to-back seasons. The Los Angeles Clippers eliminated the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. Doncic has been able to elevate his game over the past two seasons, but Porzingis has not been able to stay healthy.
On Friday afternoon, I spoke with veteran trainer Mark Edwards and asked him if he could work with Porzingis. What would he focus on with Porzingis this summer?
“He needs to go through a full body transformation. He needs to focus on flexibility, strength training, explosive training, and I would talk to him about playing lower and being more in an athletic stance. When he is playing the game, because of him being 7 foot 3, he is doing things with his frame that a normal person who is 7 foot 3 should not be able to do. So, if you were to look at him as a skeleton as he is moving with the basketball, there are joints that are moving on his body that should not be moving in that direction,” said Edwards.
“So, he is attacking his body by the way he moves and plays; it is really not a natural movement, so that that flexibility will be the biggest thing for him. If you look at videos of Dirk [Nowitzki], you see he did a lot of stretching. He was incredible; he might be able to put his leg behind his head, I do not know. But he was very flexible, and I think that helped him over his career.
Even Dirk, we are talking about a 7 foot, who was really a small forward. He could go mid-post, shot threes; even though it is crazy, he did not shoot many of them. He would shoot shots from the mid-post and long twos. He could finish at the basket and could shoot free throws well.”
Edwards continued by saying, “Dirk’s body is his temple and you could see how he carried himself off the court with his longtime trainer, Holger Geschwindner.”
After the season ended for the Mavericks last week, there has been a lot of trade chatter involving Porzingis. As his name has been linked to the Celtics, Wizards, Kings, Pelicans, and Thunder.
During his exit interview, Porzingis was asked by Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News if he was confident that the Mavericks could help him evolve as a player.
“Yes, I need support,” he said. “I need people around me to help me with that. That’s why I always ask, ‘What are the things you want me to do, and how do you want me to play?’ “I’ll adjust. I’ll sacrifice and adjust and try to do things the right way. … That’s the only way to grow as a person and as a player: Always have an open mind. You can’t be stubborn on how you think things should be or how they worked before.”
The Dallas Mavericks finished 5th in the Western Conference this season with a 42- 30 record.