Mavericks' trade for Daniel Gafford could help veteran forward in massive way

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

On Monday, the Dallas Mavericks took on the Washington Wizards two games before the All-Star break. Before Monday's win, the Mavericks were on a four-game winning streak. Now they are looking to make it six games in a row against in-state rival San Antonio Spurs.

In the previous game, the Mavs played the OKC Thunder in an electric matinee game that saw the Mavericks crush the Thunder 146-111. Headed into Monday's game against the Wizards, fans were eager to see how the Mavs would build on a dominant win over OKC.

Despite the sluggish start, the Mavericks flipped the script at the end of the third, and it required an all-around team effort to slow down the opposing Wizards. Behind newcomer Daniel Gafford and forward Maxi Kleber, the Mavericks were able to deter every Washington attack throughout the second half, and In the fourth quarter, it was clear that alongside Gafford, Kleber's true potential would be unveiled.

Mavericks' trade for Daniel Gafford could help veteran forward in massive way

While rookie Dereck Lively II has been out with a broken nose, Kleber has taken over the starting center role. Last night was the first game Kleber was out of the starting lineup in multiple weeks after Gafford got the starting nod. Despite losing his starting role, Kleber has embraced his role off the bench.

When it was announced that Gafford would get the start on Monday, fans questioned what Kleber's role would be once Lively II returned from injury. Kleber will likely remain on the bench, but alongside Lively II or Gafford, Kleber's role could become expanded massively as he would be able to play the power forward position.

The 32-year-old is currently averaging 5.7 points per game on the season, but in his last ten games, he has scored 7.8 points and gathered four rebounds per outing. It's safe to assume these numbers could rise once Lively II returns.

Alongside Gafford and Lively II, Kleber's defense will be showcased on full display as he will become the primary help side defender. Additionally, Kleber will guard more around the perimeter, where he is much better than in the paint. Offensively, Kleber's game will likely expand as he will get more shot attempts from behind the arc.