The Dallas Mavericks are going to need Maxi Kleber in the playoffs. His ability to guard on the perimeter and protect the rim is massive for the team’s significantly improved defense. The Mavs have a 105.2 defensive rating with Kleber on the floor, which would be the best in the NBA if they had produced it all season.
Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock are the team’s two best perimeter defenders, but Kleber is the Mavs top option against bigger stronger forwards. He opened the playoff series guarding Kawhi Leonard inside the bubble, but he was hampered by injuries in last year’s postseason.
The Mavericks need Kleber on the floor in the playoffs, but he is currently in a shooting funk. Here is a look at his cold spell, and why they need to get him back on track.
Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber needs to find his shot
Kleber missed two of the Mavericks' last 13 games with an ankle injury. In the 11 games he played, the 6’10 big man is shooting 25.0 percent from the field over 60 attempts, including hitting just six of his 38 3-point tries. Dallas needs him to knock down shots to stay on the floor.
All but one of his threes over the last 13 games have been classified as open or wide open by NBA Stats. Kleber has space to shoot, but he is not connecting.
Over the last two seasons combined, Kleber has hit 38.8 percent on his threes. He has a limited offensive game that relies on spot-up attempts. If he does not get back on track, teams are going to leave him wide open in the playoffs, which means another body crowding the paint and making it difficult for superstar Luka Doncic. Kleber will play himself off the floor if he cannot make jumpers.
Will Maxi Kleber turn it around? He has plenty of time as the Dallas Mavericks have ten regular-season games remaining over the next two and half weeks. Kleber’s shooting is something to watch during the stretch run and an important piece of the team's fate in the playoffs.