The 29-year-old big man returned in the Mavs loss to the LA Clippers on Nov. 21, but he was limited to just 20 minutes after missing more than three weeks of action. He managed to knock down a 3-pointer and block a shot, despite being a little rusty.
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has a starting lineup problem. In 96 minutes on the court together, his preferred unit has a negative-14.6 net rating. Luka Doncic has missed the last three games, and the starting five with Jalen Brunson replacing Doncic is negative-4.4. Should Kidd shift Kleber into the starting five?
Should Maxi Kleber be in the Dallas Mavericks starting five?
Luka, Kristaps Porzingis, and Tim Hardaway Jr. are locked into the Mavs starting group. Dorian Finney-Smith is the team’s best perimeter defender and is likely to remain a starter, which means Dwight Powell is the person to replace in the starting group. DP is best suited for a backup center role at this stage in his career.
Kleber replaced an injured Kristaps Porzingis in the starting five on Halloween, but he suffered an injury of his own after playing just over seven minutes in that contest. The 6’10 big man’s ability to space the floor, guard on the perimeter, and protect the rim is unique and helps build the case for starting Kleber.
Should Maxi Kleber replace Powell? Here is a look at the case for and against starting Maxi before trying to reach a verdict.