UPDATE: Jan. 12, 5:40 p.m. — Porzingis is listed as probable to play in Wednesday’s game vs. the Charlotte Hornets. He would be making his season debut after the Mavericks-Pelicans game was postponed on Monday.
The Mavericks will remain without Brunson, Finney-Smith, Richardson and Powell.
Dallas Mavericks PF/C Kristaps Porzingis will make his season debut on Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. Porzingis has missed the first nine games of the season after undergoing knee surgery during the offseason. The Mavericks have done a pretty good job staying afloat without Porzingis, winning three straight and five of the past seven games.
Chances are the Mavericks will ease Porzingis back into action. This could mean he starts off the bench but more likely he’ll enter the starting lineup. The Mavericks are already dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak after Maxi Kleber tested positive. As a result, Kleber, along with Josh Richardson, Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith, are all sidelined Monday vs. the Pels.
Porzingis ($8,200) doesn’t feel like a great option on DraftKings looking at his price and expected minutes. The Mavs are shorthanded, however, so there’s a chance they just unleash Porzingis and he plays around 30 minutes. If that’s the case, he isn’t a bad tournament option since a lot of lineups won’t be looking at him. The matchup isn’t ideal against Steven Adams and Zion Williamson down low.
Luka Doncic ($11,300) and Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,700) are also good tournament options with most of the usage going their way. Trey Burke ($4,500), Willie Cauley-Stein ($4,400) and Dwight Powell ($3,900) are all decent value options. James Johnson ($4,100) may get less run with Porzingis back in the fold. Johnson did end up playing 26 minutes last game and did a bit of everything.
The Mavs are favored by 3.5 points despite being without a few regulars. Normally I wouldn’t buy much into Porzingis returning because he probably won’t play a full set of minutes. The thing with the big man is he’s such a unique specimen that even being out there for 20-25 minutes is enough to make an impact. Porzingis is a mismatch for every team and the Pels will need to adjust. Doncic and THJ along with Burke did enough the last game to make me feel confident in Dallas on the spread.
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