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Kristaps Porzingis expected to make Wizards debut Sunday vs. Pacers

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards warms up before the game against the Detroit Pistons at Capital One Arena on March 1, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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Washington has made a bet that a Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis duo can help lead them to the playoffs next season.

Porzingis, who has been out with a knee issue since being traded at the deadline, is set to make his Wizards debut on Sunday against the Pacers, reports Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

When he’s been on the court the past couple of seasons, Porzingis has played at an All-Star level: 19.2 points and 7.7 rebounds a game, while being a quality rim protector on defense and averaging 1.7 blocks a game. He is a career 35.3% shooter from 3, although that number has dipped this season.

It’s the “when he’s been on the court” issue that had Dallas ready to move on from Porzingis. He has not played in more than 57 games in a season (that was the shortened 72-game bubble season) in any of the last three years, and four years ago he missed an entire season with a torn ACL. He simply has not been healthy and available.

Bringing Porzingis and his potential in was part of the plan to get Beal to re-sign with the Wizards this offseason, which he said it was “fair” to say he would do. On that level, the trade for Porzingis — sending out Spencer Dinwiddie (who has lit it up in Dallas) and Davis Bertans — was a win for the Wizards. Porzingis is owed $33.8 million next season and has a $36 million player option for 2023-24 (which he almost certainly will pick up).

Whether that trade win translates to wins on the court remains to be seen, but we will start to find out Sunday.