Mavs’ Dereck Lively II Showing To Be Major Steal Of NBA Draft

Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

Entering this NBA season, many felt the Dallas Mavericks were a borderline playoff team. They had missed the play-in tournament last season, and although they brought a somewhat improved roster into this campaign, it didn’t seem considerably better than what they went to battle with last year.

But the Mavs are off to a 6-2 record so far this season, which gives them the second-best record in the Western Conference behind only the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. Although they lost on Wednesday to the Toronto Raptors, 127-116, hopes are rising right now in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Of course, the Mavs’ new dynamic duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving lead the way. Meanwhile, Tim Hardaway Jr. is playing well and providing offensive support, as is new acquisition Grant Williams.

But perhaps the big surprise has been rookie big man Dereck Lively II. He was the No. 12 pick in June’s draft, but he has perhaps been playing better than that draft position would suggest.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com put Lively fifth in his rookie ladder going into Wednesday’s slate of games.

“Lively is one of the keys to the Mavericks’ 6-1 start and, at 7-foot-1, arguably the biggest,” wrote Aschburner. “He has developed on-court chemistry with Irving and Luka Doncic, has attacked the offensive glass and is the rim protector in Dallas’ enhanced defense.”

Through seven games (he didn’t play versus Toronto), Lively is averaging 9.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 24.0 minutes a game. While he isn’t a legitimate offensive threat, at least not at this point of his career, he is shooting an incredible 77.8 percent from the field, which shows how adept he is at scoring near the rim, whether it’s on putbacks or off passes from teammates.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Perhaps the biggest indicator of how well he is playing is a quote from former Dallas center Tyson Chandler, who played on its 2011 NBA championship team. According to Aschburner, Chandler says Lively reminds him of himself. Of course, Chandler was a very good rebounder, shot-blocker and defender back in the day.

Lively’s development will be a fairly big factor in how successful the Mavs will be moving forward with their new core that Doncic and Irving headline.

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