The Dallas Mavericks are bringing back most of their core from last year’s Western Conference Finals run. Maxi Kleber thinks that will be a benefit for a team looking to build on that success.
“I’m excited, because we still have a lot of people from last year,” Kleber said. “We don’t have to start at zero. We can go into training camp with a lot of people knowing what the defense and offensive schemes are so we can help out the new guys.”
It’s a great point. Last season, the Mavericks weren’t integrating many new players, only Reggie Bullock. But they had a new head coach for the first time in more than a decade. Jason Kidd brought new schemes, new attitudes, and new roles for every player. It was a lot to adapt to, even for a team with as many veterans as the Mavericks.
But the Mavericks are missing a big part of last year’s team with the departure of Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks. Kleber addressed that concern, too.
“Obviously it’s going to change a little bit because a lot of scoring came obviously from JB,” Kleber said. “But we’ve got [Christian Wood] now who’s also an elite scorer, especially in the pick-and-roll. The short rolls with Luka [Doncic] will be very exciting to watch, I think.”
Wood will definitely replace some of the scoring the Mavericks will lose without Brunson, but there’s still the question of who will be the third ball handler on the team. Maybe the continuity that Kleber is praising will enable one of Frank Ntilikina or Josh Green to step into that role.
There’s something to be said for knowing the framework of an offense and defense from the start of training camp. The Mavericks will be counting on this since they didn’t make any major additions to the roster this offseason.