The key to the Dallas Mavericks' success thus far has been the dominance of Luka Doncic, as he recently dropped 73 points against the Atlanta Hawks and continues to grow as a leader, but another Mavs player has also been key to their success.
No one expected this rookie to make this big of an impact early on, and he was recently given an honor that shows just how good he has been this season.
Mavs rookie Dereck Lively II was one of the rookies selected to the NBA's Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend. Lively II is the first Maverick to play in this game since Doncic did in 2019 and 2020.
Dereck Lively becomes first Mavs rookie to nab honorable selection since Luka Doncic
This season for Dallas, Lively II is averaging 9.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 73.9 percent from the field. He has become the Mavs' defensive anchor and Luka's favorite lob target, and the NBA recognized how great he has been this season for Dallas.
The Mavs needed a new center for years, and Lively II has shown that he will be a building block for this team going forward. Lively II is someone whom teams have called about leading up to the trade deadline, but the Mavs have turned down all trade offers for him. He already means so much to this team and continues to get better in every game.
While fans already knew that they could watch Doncic at All-Star Weekend, now they will get to watch Lively II too. This selection is just the beginning for Lively II, and this is his chance to put the rest of the league on notice.
For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II, and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.