6 Biggest X-factors for Dallas Mavericks heading into Finals

Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington
Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Maxi Kleber

The Dallas Mavericks suffered a massive blow in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs when Maxi Kleber suffered a shoulder injury in Game 6 against the LA Clippers. Kleber fully dislocated the AC joint in his right shoulder, and at the time, there was fear he could miss the entire playoffs.

This came at an awful time considering how well he was playing in that series, but the Mavs got him back when they needed him most. Kleber returned to the lineup during the middle of the Western Conference Finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and now he'll be needed against the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics have elite shooting bigs, and if the Mavs go small, Kleber will be utilized often. Kristaps Pozingis is one of the most unique shooting bigs in the NBA, and I could see Kleber spending plenty of time defending him.

Kleber's shooting and defense will be his calling cards in this series, and if he can perform anywhere close to like he did against the Clippers, the Mavs will be in good shape. Against LA, Kleber averaged 5.7 points per game while shooting 55.6 percent from downtown. His biggest game came in Game 5 when he scored 15 points on 5-7 shooting from 3-point range.

Kleber's defensive versatility will be needed in this series, and this time off could help him get used to shooting threes again.