Dereck Lively II’s blunt message to Luka Doncic changes everything for Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II / Tim Warner/GettyImages

When the Dallas Mavericks drafted Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, no one knew what to expect.

Would he make an impact right away? Would he play in the G League? How long would it take for him to develop?

These are all valid questions, and Lively II answered all of them right away when he had a dominant debut game against Victor Wembanyama.

He showed that he had the potential to be the Mavs’ center of the future all season long, and his productive regular season has transitioned into an excellent playoff run for him. Lively II has been the best center on the roster for weeks now, and him having a big role in the NBA Finals is a huge accomplishment on its own.

Lively II telling Doncic to not complain to refs changes everything for Mavs

Lively II has been huge for the Mavs over the last two games as he dropped back-to-back double-doubles, but his leadership is what has really stuck out in this series. He is always talking on defense and encouraging his teammates, and one message he gave to Luka Doncic during Game 4 worked wonders for the team and propelled them to a win.

Heading into Game 4, Doncic was receiving more criticism than he ever has. The national media was attacking his defense and his constant complaining to the referees, and Doncic knew he had to be better about complaining to the refs. His behavior towards the refs in Game 3 was unacceptable, and in Game 4 he made an emphasis to limit his complaining.

It ended up leading him to a great game as he finished with 29 points, and Lively II’s message to him early in this game worked wonders for Doncic and the Mavs.

Lively II told Doncic “don’t say nothing to the refs…Just please don’t do that,” the first couple of times he was going to get fouled, and it seems like Doncic took Lively II’s message to heart.

Doncic hardly complained to the refs at all in Game 4, and Doncic’s teammates’ desire for him to limit complaining to the referees was finally fulfilled. This was a huge step in the right direction for Doncic and how he treats the officials, and he has to keep it up.

Lively II stepping up as a leader as a 20-year-old isn’t something that is common in the NBA, and the Mavs have been blessed with a player who is going to be good for them for a long time. He is showing all of the signs that he is going to develop into a star, and embracing his role as a leader on this team as a rookie shows what kind of person he is.

Lively II is kind, a great leader, smart, and always ready to learn, and his continued development has helped turn him into a rising star in this league.

For all the latest on Dereck Lively II and Luka Doncic throughout the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA Finals battle against the Boston Celtics and beyond, stay tuned as we’ll have you covered.