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Maximum Value: What Coach Jason Kidd Sees in Maxi Kleber

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd is impressed by what a fully healthy Maxi Kleber was able to provide the team throughout the NBA preseason.

DALLAS — Entering his fifth season with the Dallas Mavericks, Maxi Kleber remains a key member of the team's rotation. He's solidified himself as an efficient perimeter shooter who does a little bit of everything defensively. 

After missing 11 games due to COVID-19, Kleber played through complications he still faced. Now, he feels 'fully healthy' and is free of limitations — staying healthy is a focus the team now holds. 

“I’m fully healthy now and I’m happy I can move and run again the way I want to," Kleber told Mavs.com. "And I think that’s the number one thing for everybody on the team – just staying healthy – because we have a really great roster of great guys. And we all can play basketball. We just got to stay healthy and keep working.”

The Mavericks may not intend to start Kleber in the frontcourt to begin the season, but he will remain a pivotal element of plug-and-play lineups early on. 

The various ways Kleber makes an impact on the game on both ends of the floor is something that Kidd has taken notice of throughout training camp and preseason play. Whether it's playing multiple positions, defending, or shooting the ball, there's a lot to like. 

“I think we saw some of that in the preseason, and that’s what we expect,” Kidd said.. “Playing both sides of the ball, having the ability to come off the bench with his injuries, being able to start. We can use him in a lot of different ways.

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“He can play a lot of different positions, so look for him to continue to shoot the ball like he did in Milwaukee. Even the shots he got in Charlotte were all great shots. What I love about that is everybody kept telling him to shoot.”

In the preseason, Kleber was limited to averages of 6.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game. However, he still impressed Kidd with his impact in ways that did not show in the box score. 

The Luka-Doncic Mavericks experienced no shortage of preseason success as they finished with an undefeated record in four games. Kleber wants the team to remain focused on getting stops given how much talent they have on offense.

“Obviously, preseason games don’t count at all, but it’s just nice to get together and see where we stand,” Kleber said. “But I think we have shown that we can pick up on defense and get better there.

“I think we’ve shown that we really have the ability of getting stops, and offensively we have so much talent we don’t have to worry about that. The main focus is getting stops on defense.”

The Dallas Mavericks open the 2021-22 NBA regular season with a road matchup against the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. (CST).