Unseld Jr. says Wizard will be 'cautious' with Porzingis


New Wizards acquisition Kristaps Porzingis is "still not up to par to be playing in 5-on-5" play, said Washington head coach Wes Unseld Jr. on Monday. 

Unseld Jr. joined the Sports Junkies and immediately provided the following update during his morning appearance. 

"We have to monitor his daily progress. We obviously have a plan in place, but it's detailed to the point where how he responds daily effects how we adjust that plan," Unseld Jr. said. "So the good news is that he's doing more and more every day. We can implement him in practice, he's still not up to par to be in five-on-five yet, but we're hoping soon."

The Wizards acquired Porzingis from Dallas on the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Porzingis suffered a bone bruise at the end of January and missed the last six games of his Mavericks career, having last played 11 minutes on Jan. 29 against Indiana. 

"I've had conversations with him that there's some days he feels great, other days certain movements are a bit tricky," Unseld Jr. said. "We want to make sure we're cautious with it, and what we don't want is to throw him out there too soon and have a setback - allow him to play full games and then he misses another chunk (of the season). We want to make sure he's ready to go and play the duration, whatever that may be. But I want to see the best version of him."


Washington remains two games back of Atlanta for the 10th seed, the final play-in spot for a chance to make the postseason, and are 3-4 since the deadline having lost back-to-back games coming back from the All-Star break. 

While Unseld Jr. isn't rushing Porzingis into the Wizards lineup for the first time, he raved about the exciting prospect the 7-foot-3 big man's skill set. He'll play both the power forward and center positions, as Unseld Jr. explained to the Junkies. 

"I think he presents a nightmare matchup with a lot of fives. With the pops, just being able to pick and pop, space, play off the bounce. A lot of teams will guard him with smalls and more mobile defenders to keep him off the 3-point line but he has the ability to post, score in the post and playmake. Defensively, I think you can use him in both spots. He's a better defender than you give him credit for. His rim protection is documented. His length and size, mobility.

It's an exciting thing to have, I just want to figure out the best situations to utilize him."