Why Maxi Kleber needs to start for the Dallas Mavericks moving forward
Both Kleber and Kristaps Porzingis have missed time this season. KP sat five games with a back injury and Kleber missed nine after straining his oblique, but both men came back from their injuries looking 100 percent healthy and playing some of the best basketball of their careers.
When Porzingis and Kleber share the floor, the Mavericks have a positive-1.9 net rating so far. The next best two-man rating featuring KP and a big man is with Dwight Powell at negative-13.3. Last season, despite Porzingis and Kleber both struggling with injuries, they produced a positive-8.1 net rating, and it was plus-3.5 in the Unicorn’s first season in Dallas.
The duo works, and starting Kleber keeps coach Kidd from doing a juggling act with the rotation. Maxi Kleber was part of the team’s closing lineup in each of the last two games. That could change when Jalen Brunson returns from his foot injury, but Kleber has played approximately 30 minutes in each of the last two games during regulation. He is getting starter’s run without being in the opening group.
It is time for head coach Jason Kidd to stop using a placeholder starter and to put Kleber into the opening lineup, but there is one massive concern.