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Dallas Mavericks Preseason Profile: How Efficient Can Maxi Kleber Be?

The Dallas Mavericks got a strong playoff showing from Maxi Kleber en route to a Western Conference Finals appearance. We'll see if that production can carry over to the 2022-23 NBA season.

There were a number of factors that allowed the Dallas Mavericks to advance to the Western Conference Finals last season aside from Luka Doncic being one of the best players on the planet.

Jalen Brunson had an amazing run at the beginning of the Mavs' first-round series against the Utah Jazz in Doncic's absence. Spencer Dinwiddie, despite not being able to carry over his regular-season efficiency with Dallas, stepped up in the big moments when it mattered most. Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock were the team's defensive anchors.

Out of all the playoff performances from Mavs role players, though, the most impressive might have come from Maxi Kleber, considering how much higher he raised his level of play from the regular season to the postseason. Let's take a brief look back at what Kleber accomplished last season while also looking forward to what could be in store for this season as well.

2021-22 Season Review

To put it nicely, Kleber struggled during the regular season last year. The five-year veteran averaged seven points, six rebounds, one assists and one block in 25 minutes per game. He shot only 39.8 percent from the field, which was the worst in his career so far, including 32.5 percent from 3-point range, which was the second-worst in his career. Before last season, Kleber hadn't shot below 35 percent from deep since his rookie season in 2017 when he shot 31.3 percent.

A number of factors contributed to Kleber's poor regular-season performances, as he dealt with a number of nagging injuries and was in the NBA's COVID protocols for a while as well. However, things changed dramatically when the postseason rolled around, and what we witnessed was a major regression to the mean with his efficiency.

In the Mavs' long postseason run, Kleber averaged 8.7 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from deep. His biggest outing came in Game 2 of first-round series against the Jazz, who had taken a 1-0 series lead with Doncic out. Alongside Brunson, who scored 41 points, Kleber pitched in with 25 points on 8-11 shooting from beyond the arc, which is tied for the fifth-most 3s made in a playoff game in NBA history.

2022-23 Season Preview

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Can Kleber carry over his 2022 playoff momentum into the new season? After losing Brunson in free agency, the Mavs certainly hope so, as they could use as much efficiency as possible as they try to get off to a better start than they did in the previous two seasons.

Although Christian Wood and JaVale McGee have been added into the Mavs' front court mix, we don't foresee Kleber's role changing much, especially with Wood reportedly starting the season as the backup center. Kleber should get all the bench minutes at the four, while Dwight Powell, on the other hand, might be forced out of the rotation all together at this point.

Although being in a contract year has its benefits, there's also some pressure that comes along with that as well. Kleber won't have to worry with that, though, as he signed a three-year, $33 million extension over the summer that will take him through the 2025-26 with the Mavs.

Overall, Kleber's below-average 2021-22 season was likely more circumstantial than anything else. We fully expect Kleber to have a bounce-back year as the Mavs look to build on their WCF run.

You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg

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