Crafting the Dallas Mavericks' ideal 5-man starting lineup after the trade deadline

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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1. Center: Dereck Lively II

The Dallas Mavericks struck gold in the 2023 NBA Draft when they selected Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 overall pick. If teams knew how impactful Lively II would be early on, he could have likely been a top five pick.

This season for Dallas, Lively II is averaging 9.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game. He has been elite in his role with Dallas, and he is the perfect fit next to Luka Doncic.

Lively II is such a great fit next to Doncic because of his expertise in the pick and roll. Defenses have to pick their poison when this duo is on the floor together, and Lively II is a great lob catcher. Doncic draws the defense in and Lively II does a great job at finishing the lobs.

He has also improved as a scorer and passer out of the short roll. He has a great feel for the game and his ability to find shooters is underrated. Not many centers can pass as well as Lively II can, and he will only improve in this area as he continues to play more games.

Lively II has become an extremely valuable piece for this team, and Dallas does much better when he is in the lineup. They have finally found a starting center who can protect the rim, and he has a long career ahead of him in the NBA.

For all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.