The Dallas Mavericks made a splash in the 2023 NBA Draft by drafting Dereck Lively II from Duke with the No. 12 overall pick.
It was unclear how high Lively II would go heading into the draft, but one workout from the pre-draft process changed everything for the 7-foot-1 big man.
Lively II was coming off a season at Duke in which he averaged 5.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game as a freshman. He was one of the best shot blockers in all of college basketball, but his limited offensive game looked concerning.
Mavericks rookie earns millions of dollars due to small request by agent
Lively II seemed like he was just going to be a lob catcher on offense coming out of college, and many scouts doubted his upside as a shooter as he shot poorly from the free-throw line and from behind the arc.
But just about a month before the draft, Lively II proved that his jump shot is better than people think.
Rich Paul, Lively II's agent, told him to work on his jumper ahead of the NBA Draft. Lively II was a good shooter in high school, but he had to prove to the NBA scouts that his jumper had some upside.
For Lively II's pro day, Paul made sure that Lively II's jumper was ready. And it was.
Lively II drilled 14 straight corner 3-pointers on his pro day, helping him shoot up the draft boards even more. He was a late riser, and by the time the draft rolled around, it seemed like he could go in the top 10.
Lively II ended up going 12th, which was around 10 spots higher than his original projection (according to Rich Paul's 60 Minutes interview).
This move by Paul to get Lively II to emphasize his 3-point shooting was something that helped him rise in team's pre-draft rankings, ultimately causing him to go higher in the draft. When a player is drafted higher, their rookie scale contracts are bigger.
This late rise by Lively II earned him millions of dollars, and this was partially due to the work of Paul. Obviously, Lively II put in the work and solidified himself as a top prospect, but the hard work behind the scenes of an agent shouldn't go unnoticed.
We'll have you covered with all the latest news on the Dallas Mavericks and Dereck Lively II this season, so stay tuned.