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5 Dallas Mavericks training camp battles to watch

Dallas Mavericks, Christian Wood
Dallas Mavericks, Christian Wood / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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Dallas Mavericks position battle to watch during training camp: 1. Kleber vs. Wood vs. McGee

This battle in training camp is less about who starts and more about who finishes the game.

The Mavs started Dwight Powell at the five in the playoffs, but it was Maxi Kleber that played the majority of the minutes and was part of their closing group. Kleber can space the floor, protect the rim, and defend on the perimeter. Playing him at the five left Dallas a bit light on the boards, but they won their first playoff series since 2011 and reached the conference finals for just the fifth time in franchise history.

To address the team’s woes inside, the front office traded for Christian Wood and signed JaVale McGee in free agency. Head coach Jason Kidd was quick to name McGee as the team’s starting center, but rumors suggest he will only play 15 to 20 minutes per game. That leaves the door open for Wood or Kleber to take the center spot in the closing group.

Wood’s defense could be the deciding factor. The 6’10 forward is a career 38.0 percent 3-point shooter, but he has never played in an NBA playoff game. There have been plenty of knocks on his defense, but Wood has never experienced what is like to play for a contending team. He is already working with assistant coach Sean Sweeney, but can Wood take a significant step forward on the defensive end?

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The five position in the closing lineup is up for grabs during training camp. Who will come in and take over that position? It is one of the many things for Dallas Mavericks fans to watch closely over the next three weeks, and stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest.