The Dallas Mavericks bet big on Maxi Kleber when they signed him to a 4-year $36 million deal this summer, will it pay off?
The Dallas Mavericks made a bold move this summer when they offered a significant extension to one of their soon-to-be free agents. No, not Kristaps Porzingis. He was a no-brainer. I’m talking about Maxi Kleber and the 4-year $35.5 million extension the Mavs handed him.
Devoting $36 million to a 27-year-old off-the-bench role player is a risk unto itself. For a team like the Dallas Mavericks, who plan to make major roster changes over the next three seasons, it’s a pretty dang significant commitment.
The contract doesn’t just show faith in Maxi Kleber’s ability, but it shows and expectation for improvement. In much the same way Dallas signed Dwight Powell to a ten-mil-per-season salary back in 2016, Dallas is betting on a breakout from their third-year big man out of Wurzburg.
Lucky for all of us, the signs of an impending breakout are there…
In Year 2, Maxi improved in just about every way possible. Moving to the NBA is no small endeavor, and for a 3-point shooter, adjusting to the depth of the NBA line takes time. Last season Kleber improved significantly upon his 31 percent 3-ball shot his rookie year, to a respectable 35.3%. But if you look even deeper, Maxi was straight-up lights out as the season progressed, shooting 41 percent from beyond the arch in 2019.
More from Dallas Mavericks
- The Dallas Mavericks accomplished a lot on Draft Day
- Mavericks pairing Luka Doncic and Draymond Green a technical (foul) disaster
- Can the Mavericks steal Deandre Ayton from cap-strapped Suns?
- Dallas Mavericks: Top-5 options for the Mavs to explore in the NBA Draft
- Dallas Mavericks can’t keep pick No. 10 in the NBA Draft
Serving as a stretch-4, the Mavs were able to utilize Maxi in match-ups throughout the court. While he wasn’t very effective in pick-and-roll situations, but as catch and shoot 3-point shooter, Maxi was nothing short of great. Besides, Dwight Powell is locked in to handle those pick and roll situations Maxi struggles with anyway.
In fact, retaining the two players, Dwight and Maxi, makes sense since they each complement each other by making up for each other’s deficiencies. Dwight’s the roll man who plays above the rim, and Maxi’s the deep shooter who protects the rim.
Speaking of blocking shots, Maxi’s 2.5 blocks per 100 possessions rank among the best in the NBA (25th). To have a shooter capable of stretching the floor AND protecting the rim, is a major advantage and mismatch opportunity for Rick Carlisle to play with this season.
And according to FiveThirtyEight’s DRAYMOND ratings (which stands for Defensive Rating Accounting for Yielding Minimal Openness by Nearest Defender), Maxi was fifth in the entire NBA last season with a 2.94 rating.
With Kristaps Porzingis locked into a starting role, Maxi Kleber won’t be a good fit in the starting lineup. But every time KP takes a seat, Maxi will be able to pick up the slack and keep things going.
There’s a lot of reasons to believe Maxi Kleber is about to breakout this coming season. He’s already shown he’s progressing on a significant incline, and with the right pieces around him, he could be a major player for the Dallas Mavericks for the foreseeable future.
- Published on 08/15/2019 at 12:30 PM
- Last updated at 08/15/2019 at 09:19 AM