5 Things Jason Kidd must fix in the Dallas Mavericks' rotation

Dallas Mavericks v Cleveland Cavaliers
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2. Opting to play too much small ball

The Mavericks have had a tendency to play a fair amount of small ball recently given the re-installation of Maxi Kleber into Dallas’ lineup. Given Kleber's defensive versatility and ability to be an effective spot-up 3-point shooter, it obviously makes sense as to why the Mavericks opt to play Kleber at center against teams who can play a five-out style, despite Dallas still suffering against teams have big men that can stretch the floor.

Given Dallas’ increased depth post-trade deadline, being able to still play Kleber as the lone center in small-ball lineups is a huge luxury. However, Jason Kidd needs to be careful about over-playing this card, as closing games with Kleber and keeping him on the floor for extended periods of time has already proved to have a flurry of negative effects for the Mavericks.

For instance, in Dallas’ most recent loss to the Sixers, Kleber played the most out of any Dallas big man with 26 minutes, with Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford only playing less than 20 minutes each respectively. Match-ups certainly matter, and we must take into account that Philadelphia went smaller throughout the course of the game given Joel Embiid’s absence, as Paul Reed was often the lone big on the floor for the Sixers in that game at times.

However, Lively II and Gafford have quick enough feet to stay with many of these floor-spacing bigs, and the Mavericks heavily relinquish rim running and rim protection without the likes of either of those players on the floor. Kleber is still a deployable cog in small-ball scenarios for Dallas despite being 32 years old, but he shouldn’t be relied upon to the effect of playing around 30 minutes per game as he has recently, especially given his injury history.

Kidd needs to do a better job of inflicting the Mavericks’ rim protecting and rebounding prowess over other teams, as it’s just as much of a huge advantage for Dallas to go big against a smaller lineup as it is a disadvantage. Lively II and Gafford have their deficiencies in terms of guarding the perimeter compared to Kleber, but the Mavericks typically aren’t severely out-matched to the point that both Lively II and Gafford should be seeing less than 20 minutes in a game where all of Dallas’ bigs are healthy.