5 X factors for the Dallas Mavericks in 2022-23 season

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. / Harry How/GettyImages
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The Dallas Mavericks are far from satisfied after unexpectedly reaching the conference finals last season. Luka Doncic made it clear the goal is to win the championship this season. The front office upgraded the team’s depth and frontcourt this offseason as Dallas looks to take that next step.

Jalen Brunson left in free agency after becoming the team’s second-leading scorer and second-best player. The Mavs appear to be one ball handler short, and they will need other players to step up to fill the void left by Brunson.

Can the Mavericks reach the NBA Finals for just the third time in franchise history? Here are five X factors that will determine the team’s success this season.

Dallas Mavericks X factor for 2022-23 season: 5. Maxi Kleber

Kleber was not the team’s starting center last year, but he got the majority of the postseason minutes at the five because of his ability to space the floor, protect the rim, and guard on the perimeter. His defensive versatility and shooting 43.6 percent from 3-point range made him a key piece of the team’s run to the final four.

JaVale McGee gives Dallas a larger inside presence, but he cannot defend on the perimeter like Kleber. Christian Wood is a better and more versatile offensive player, but his defense is questionable at best. Kleber will play a consistent and important role in the postseason again this year, and the Mavs will need him to knock down open jumpers and play stout defense if they plan on making another deep playoff run this season.

Most fans won’t view Kleber as one of the most important Mavericks this season, and here are four other players that will determine their level of success.