Future Watch: Maxi Kleber Rookie Basketball Cards, MavericksFuture Watch: Maxi Kleber Rookie Basketball Cards, Mavericks – The Dallas Mavericks are rebuilding for the future, taking a very vocal approach to the process of “tanking”. This has given them the opportunity to play a deeper group of players to evaluate which players could help the team moving forward. For international rookie forward Maxi Kleber from Germany, this has been quite beneficial.

Maximillian “Maxi” Kleber grew up in Wurzburg, Germany and began his career in 2011. He flirted with coming to the states for the NBA Draft in 2012 and 2014, but there wasn’t enough interest. He would sign a two-year deal to play for the Spanish club Obradoiro CAB in 2014. In 2014-15 for Obradoiro, Kleber averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He would play for Bayern Munich in 2015-16, and averaged 8.0 points and 4.9 boards in 24 games. After a few seasons of international play, he would sign with Dallas on July 13th, 2017.

With Dallas in full tank mode, Kleber was able to see solid minutes as a 26 year-old rookie. The 6’11” power forward averaged 16.8 minutes in 72 games, including 35 starts. His overall numbers weren’t stunning: 5.4 points, 3.3 rebounds per game, but he had a nice stretch of games at the end of the season. In six April games, Kleber averaged 20.0 minutes per game with 8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and shooting percentages of 65.6% overall and 50% from deep.

We’re currently in the twilight of the NBA’s “tanking” era. Over the past few seasons, the process of losing as many games as possible in the hopes of acquiring a top draft pick has been the norm for teams building towards the future. The Philadelphia 76ers famously did this in order to acquire their young core that took them to the second round of the NBA playoffs. With new rules in place moving forward in 2019, tanking won’t guarantee teams a top pick.

Enter the Dallas Mavericks. They made no effort to deny they were tanking the 2017-18 season. In fact, team owner Mark Cuban was fined for publicly admitting his team was trying to lose. Dallas was awarded the fifth overall pick in the 2018 Draft at last week’s draft lottery. They’re in a good position to add an impact player in a deep draft.

When it comes to Maxi Kleber and how he fits with the Mavericks moving forward, time will tell. The summer free agency period will be interesting for Dallas. With new tanking rules in 2019 paired with what is being considered a weak draft class, Dallas could make a push back towards playoff contention as early as this summer. There’s no doubt Cuban will be active in free agency if he feels he can find the right player. Regardless of the team’s direction, Kleber is a cost-controlled asset who has shown the ability to stretch the floor as a power forward. There’s value in Kleber staying with the team in the hopes he can continue to grow. Learning the game from fellow German Dirk Nowitzki is perfect for Maxi. If given time to develop his NBA skills, he could emerge as a late bloomer.

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