Free Agent Comparison: Maxi Kleber vs. Daniel Theis

Maxi Kleber is a restricted free agent for the Dallas Mavericks this summer. Due to his relentless rim protection and ability to stretch the floor on offense Kleber is a fan favorite who has a ton of MFFL support to return to the team. But you never know in restricted free agency, with the diverse skill set that Maxi has shown in his two years in the NBA there may be teams willing to throw more cash at him than the Mavericks can muster, depending where their priorities lay. To brace Mavs fans for a potential departure and to show that there are other free agents like Maxi available this summer, I want to compare Kleber to fellow free agent big man, Daniel Theis.

The similarities between these two guys is stunning. Both Maxi Kleber and Daniel Theis were born in Germany in 1992. Both players went undrafted, were signed by their respective teams in July of 2017 and made their NBA debuts in October of that same year. Beyond that, each player has dealt with major knee injuries in their career, Theis tore the meniscus in his left knee in March of 2018 while Kleber has had ongoing knee issues that initially kept him out of the NBA for a few years and now forces him to regularly miss games.

In addition to all of these similarities, Kleber and Theis post almost identical stats on the court.

Maxi Kleber Per Game Stats
Season Age Tm G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS
2017-18 26 DAL 72 16.8 49% 31% 75% 3.3 0.7 0.4 0.7 5.4
2018-19 27 DAL 71 21.2 45% 35% 78% 4.6 1 0.5 1.1 6.8
Career 143 18.9 47% 34% 77% 3.9 0.8 0.4 0.9 6.1
Daniel Theis Per Game Stats
Season Age Tm G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS
2017-18 25 BOS 63 14.9 54% 31% 75% 4.3 0.9 0.5 0.8 5.3
2018-19 26 BOS 66 13.8 55% 39% 74% 3.4 1 0.3 0.6 5.7
Career 129 14.3 55% 35% 75% 3.9 1 0.4 0.7 5.5

Theis played nearly 7 less minutes per game than Kleber last season, so let’s take a look at the per 36 minute numbers for their 2018-2019 seasons to get a better comparison of their production.

Maxi Kleber and Daniel Theis 2018-2019 Per 36 Minute Stats
Player G FG% 3PM 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PF PTS
Kleber 71 45% 1.8 35% 78% 7.9 1.7 0.9 1.9 3.4 11.6
Theis 66 55% 1 39% 74% 8.9 2.7 0.8 1.7 6.4 14.8

Daniel Theis outpaces Maxi Kleber in points, rebounds, assists, and shooting percentages while Maxi holds a slight edge in blocks and steals per 36 minutes. Maxi was a bit more durable during the 2018-2019 season and did a much better job of playing defense without fouling.

Perhaps the reason that Theis played less than 14 minutes per game this year is because he fouled at a rate of 6.4 per 36 minutes. Maxi Kleber’s ability to protect the rim without fouling is really remarkable as he had more blocks with almost half the number of fouls.

Despite the foul troubles, Theis is pretty much the same age and similar skill set at Maxi with the ability to stretch the floor efficiently and protect the rim.

Even their advanced stats are remarkably similar.

Maxi Kleber and Daniel Theis 2018-2019 Advanced Stats
Player PER TS% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TO%
Kleber 13.1 58% 6.5 16.9 11.7 6.8 1.2 4.4 11.4
Theis 17 62% 10.2 16.2 13.2 10.5 1.1 4.1 9.9
Continued
Player USG% OWS DWS WS WS/48 OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
Kleber 13.5 1.6 1.8 3.5 0.111 -0.8 2.3 1.5 1.3
Theis 15.8 2.3 1.3 3.5 0.188 0.8 1.5 2.3 1

I am not trying to make the case for one of these guys over the other (of course I’m partial to Maxi), but want to point out the similarities in their games. We have all fallen in love with Maxi’s energy and effort on defense and he seems like a great fit with the players that the Mavs already have on the roster. If it comes down to it and we have to let Maxi walk because he demands too much money in free agency, it is not the end of the World. There are still productive bigs available, like Theis who may fall through the cracks.

Maxi Kleber Top Games and Highlights 2018-2019

Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS GmSc
CLE 25 46% 3 50% 100% 12 1 0 1 0 18 19.3
HOU 31 57% 0 0% 100% 11 1 1 3 0 10 14.6
SAC 33 60% 4 50% 50% 4 0 1 1 1 17 13.9
PHO 34 57% 2 50% 100% 9 1 1 2 1 13 13.7
TOR 30 33% 1 25% 75% 8 1 2 4 0 8 12.5

Daniel Theis Top Games and Highlights 2018-2019

Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS GmSc
CHI 32 53% 2 50% 57% 10 5 1 4 0 22 24.2
LAL 23 82% 2 100% 6 2 0 2 1 20 19.1
ATL 21 67% 2 67% 100% 7 1 0 1 0 18 17.2
BRK 20 78% 0 100% 4 2 1 2 0 16 17.1
DET 19 78% 2 67% 50% 8 1 0 0 2 17 13.8
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