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2021-22 Wizards player evaluations: Kristaps Porzingis can put up numbers, but his chemistry with Beal will be even more essential next season

The Washington Wizards post played 17 games and had strong individual numbers. But he’ll have to do the same with Bradley Beal next season and get this team on a winning track.

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis put up strong numbers during his short stint in Washington so far. Can he also be part of a winning Washington team however?
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Washington Wizards at the trade deadline from the Dallas Mavericks last February in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans and a future second round draft pick. Today, we will review his season.

Stats

Since Porzingis played most of the 2021-22 NBA season with the Mavericks, I will focus only on his time in Washington. During his 17-game period as a Wizards player, Porzingis averaged 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. He shot 47.5 percent from the field, close to his full-season career-high of 47.6 percent in 2020-21 with Dallas.

Porzingis also performed a bit better individually with the Wizards last season than the Mavericks. His three point shooting was considerably better (36.7 percent in Washington vs. 28.3 percent with Dallas on about 5 three point attempts per game) and he got to the free throw line a bit more as well (6.8 attempts per game for the Wizards vs. 5.8 attempts per game for the Mavericks). Finally, Porzingis’ playing time per game in Washington was slightly less than with Dallas (28.2 mpg vs. 29.5 mpg).

What was Porzinigis’ best game as a Wizard?

On April 1, the Wizards defeated the Mavericks, 135-103 at home. Porzingis scored 24 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished 4 assists in the win and also 2-of-4 of his threes. While his Wizards (and 2021-22) season-high was a 35 point performance against the Magic two days earlier, Porzingis followed that up in a “revenge game” against a team that was playoff-bound,

The Pros

The Wizards received the most talented player in the trade, even if the Mavericks ended up going to the Western Conference Finals in the playoffs. Porzinigis is Washington’s best center in the last ... 20 years. And he’s the best post player to be here since Antawn Jamison, who was more of a tweener between the power and small forward positions.

Assuming he starts at the center position and is healthy for most of next season, Porzingis would be a true stretch-five alongside franchise guard Bradley Beal and forward Kyle Kuzma. If Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija continue their growth next season, Washington could (and I emphasize the word COULD) have a chance to return to the NBA Playoffs as well.

Within the statistics, Porzingis had very good offensive metrics with the advanced stats. It’s a small sample size, but Porzingis had 121.4 points per 100 shot attempts (58th percentile among bigs) as a Wizards and a career-high 16.9 percent assist percentage (91st percentile) during his Wizards stint according to Cleaning The Glass (Subscription required). Historically, Porzingis was a below average big in terms of his points per 100 shot attempts and was about average as an assisted. Finally, Porzingis is among the best at taking care of the basketball at his position with a turnover percentage of 8.8 percent, which ranks in the 89th percentile among bigs.

The cons

First and foremost, availability. Porzingis only played 51 games this season, including his Mavericks stint, due to a knee injury. And Porzingis has only played over 70 games once in his career: his rookie season in 2015-16. If we are going to continue the “law of averages” here, the

While Porzingis is an above-average three-point and free throw shooter as a post, he is also below average at getting and-one opportunities. Last season, he only made about 17 percent of shots when he got fouled, which ranks in the 21st percentile among bigs, according to Cleaning the Glass. While players on offense shouldn’t simply aim to be fouled, Porzingis has generally been a below-average and-one shooter his entire career.

What we need to see in 2022-23

It would be nice to see Porzingis continue to be a solid distributor next season, especially if the Wizards don’t make a significant upgrade to the point guard position. In addition, his all-around scoring will be welcome. But most of all, the Wizards need to see him develop positive chemistry with Bradley Beal and win games consistently with both of them. Washington’s goal for playoff contention depends on it.