Kristaps Porzingis, aka The Unicorn, is expected to make his season debut with the Dallas Mavericks against the Charlotte Hornets. The 7-foot-3 big man from Latvia recently recovered from a knee injury and surgery, which he suffered in the playoffs last August against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Porzingis underwent surgery in October to fix the meniscus in his left knee. He missed the first nine games of this season for the Mavericks, who went 5-4 without their Unicorn.
In 57 games with the Dallas Mavs last season, Porzingis averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.8 assists per game.
In three playoff games inside the NBA Bubble, Porzingis averaged 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game against the Clips. He initially injured his knee during the postseason opener in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, but could only play two more games before the pain sidelined him the remainder of the series. Despite the bum knee, the Unicorn dropped 34 points and hauled down 13 rebounds.
The Dallas Mavs are currently +2200 odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship, according to the Mirage Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas. Despite a slow start, the Mavs are -200 odds to win the Southwest division.
A Unicorn Thrives in Dallas
Porzingis, 25, missed nearly 1.5 seasons after he blew out his ACL in February 2018. During that recovery period, he switched teams from the Big Apple to the heart of Texas. He left the dysfunctional New York Knicks and landed a sweet gig playing with Luka Doncic.
Before the blown ACL, the Unicorn had posted career numbers with the Knicks. In his third season during 2017-18, Porzingis averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game in 48 games as a starter.
He missed ten games as a rookie in NYC and 16 games in his second season with the Knicks. He only played half a season in 2017-18 before he blew out his knee.
After the Knicks traded the disgruntled Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, fans in NYC reveled in the fact that the injury-prone Unicorn missed games with the Mavericks.
At the same time, the Knicks were miffed that Dennis Smith, Jr. ended up a huge bust. Smith (4.0 ppg, 1.5 assists) currently finds himself buried at the end of the bench. Rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley earned the backup point guard spot and IQ comes off the bench to give starting point guard Elf Payton a breather.