The Dallas Mavericks are looking to make some noise this coming NBA season with focus on their European stars. The bar has been raised for Luka Doncic and most can't wait to see Kristaps Porzingis play alongside the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year.

Before getting sidelined, the Latvian beanpole showed a lot of promise although most felt he needed to bulk up if he is to survive the physicality inside the paint. And at least from a certain angle, it looks like Porzingis has truly buffed up. He posted a picture on his Instagram account where he looked bulkier with some even saying he looked a lot like Ivan Drago, Rocky Balboa's foe in "Rocky IV". To show the difference, TMZ Sports even placed the photo beside the 7-foot-3's picture when he was still with the New York Knicks.

The 4th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft was last seen on the basketball court on February 2018 for the New York Knicks. This was against the Milwaukee Bucks where he tore his left ACL. He has not played since.

He was eventually traded by the Knicks to the Mavericks on January 31, 2019, alongside Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Tim Hardaway Jr. in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., an unprotected 2021 first-round draft pick, and an additional top-ten protected 2023 first-round draft pick.

With no word on when he will return to active duty, the buzz around was that he could be eventually traded again. The Mavs put a lid on all that, signing Porzingis to a five-year maximum contract worth $158 million last month, the New York Post reported.

With the money matters settled, all eyes on how the two European players will turn out. Head coach Rick Carlisle is excited how the tandem will work out and all that should be seen once training camp starts, reported.

“I like the possibilities,” Carlisle said. “We’re young. We’re deep. Our young players have a level of experience now. I believe it’s a group that will grow together well. There will be ups and downs. But they’re great kids and they’re pros. And I believe they want to play together and that they want to win.”

Kristaps Porzingis Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 26, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images