Dallas Mavericks: Maxi Kleber has a chance to shine at the World Cup
By Tyler Watts
Dallas Mavericks big man Maxi Kleber is playing for Germany in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. He will have the chance to shine early and often in the tournament.
The Dallas Mavericks made a commitment to Maxi Kleber this offseason. He entered restricted free agency, and the front office rewarded him with a four-year contract worth $25 million guaranteed. Kleber can earn up to $35.9 million in the deal.
The 27-year-old is looking to continue improving this season. Kleber will be asked to play the largest role of his career.
In preparation, he is playing for his native Germany in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The competition is set to begin on Aug. 31. Here is why Maxi Kleber has a chance to shine early and often in China.
Kleber is the starting power forward on the German National Team. He profiles as the team’s second-leading scorer behind Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder. Celtics center Daniel Theis is also part of the German starting unit.
Open against France
Germany faces the matchup to look forward to in the opening round against France. The Germans were 12th in the latest FIBA Power Rankings. France checks in fifth.
The game has a ton riding on it. The winner should finish first place in Group G. Team USA will await the loser in the quarterfinals assuming the Americans win their group. That means one of the three teams will not play in a medal game.
Kleber should have plenty of chances to shine against the French. They feature Rudy Gobert in the paint. The NBA Defensive Player of the Year will curtail Schroder’s driving ability. That could force the Germans to rely on Kleber to score more. It will be the must-watch game on Sept. 1.
A shot at a medal
The Germans have a shot to win their first World Cup medal since 2002. Mavericks GOAT Dirk Nowitzki was the leader of that team. Germany failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2014.
They have a legit shot at earning some hardware. If they beat France on Sunday and win Group G, Germany will be set up for a quarterfinal matchup against Greece. Winning will be no easy task, but the Germans are capable. That would put them in at least the bronze medal game for the first time since 2002.
Maxi Kleber will have plenty of opportunities to step up and make an impact during the tournament. Expect the Germans to qualify for the knockout portion of the World Cup and make a run in the bracket.
Dallas Mavericks supporters should not worry because The Smoking Cuban will be covering everything Maxi Kleber from the 2019 World Cup and more on your favorite squad.