Defense will be biggest question mark of Mavericks bench
There is where Dereck Lively II and Dante Exum come into play. In Summer League , Lively was able to control the paint, as he scored a majority of his points inside and got physical by getting boards for the team.
In two of the team's five games, he put up double-digit rebounds. In the third game, he had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks. If he can develop early, he could become Dallas' big man of the future. But for now, he should improve their defense off the bench.
Another player who could provide defensive skills off the bench is Exum. The former NBA veteran has been out of the league since 2021. However, the last time we saw him, he was providing defensive services for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For the Cavs, he was a defensive asset tasked with covering tough assignments. One thing that stands out is his ability to guard multiple positions, ranging from the one to the three. Dallas likely picked him up to replace the likes of Frank Ntilikina.
We know the offensive production off the bench won't be an issue. As mentioned, there are plenty of scorers to go around. Defensively, the best-case scenario is that Lively adapts to the NBA quickly, and Exum wipes off his NBA rust.
Another helpful potential change is that Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber could improve their defense next season. Remember, Kleber struggled to anchor the defense after the trade of Dorian Finney-Smith. However, he was recovering from a hamstring tear that sidelined him three months.
Could a healthy Kleber be the key to a team looking for defensive answers?