5 Mavericks players who must play better down the stretch to boost playoff chances

New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks
New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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4. Maxi Kleber

Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber remains crucial to their rotation as he is the only player who can effectively play small-ball center, but he has been struggling lately.

In the last five games before the game against the Indiana Pacers, Kleber averaged 4.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.4 blocks per game while shooting 36.8 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from downtown.

Kleber remains a crucial piece for the Mavs on defense, and a lot of the stuff he does on the floor doesn't come up on the stat sheet, but he must play better offensively to consistently make an impact for this team. His threes have looked shaky recently, and that is the only way he has been involved in the offense.

His block numbers are also way down since being a great shot blocker right after returning from his toe injury, and the Mavs need for him to return to having some energy and making plays as a defender. Dallas is a different team when Kleber is flying around the floor defensively, and they need that from him.

He will likely be the Mavs' center in crunch time down the stretch, and he needs to be a threat on both ends of the floor to be effective in that role. His rebounding numbers have also been down, and if he is playing small-ball five, he needs to give all he has on the glass.