Mavericks rookie becomes unsung hero in victory over Pistons

Real Madrid Vs Dallas Mavericks - Exhibition Match
Real Madrid Vs Dallas Mavericks - Exhibition Match / Borja B. Hojas/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks entered Friday night's game against the Detroit Pistons with plenty of uncertainty.

The starting lineup still wasn't determined, Luka Doncic's injury was announced to have no timetable, and Jaden Hardy was out of the lineup with an ankle injury.

The injury news for Doncic isn't the best, and the starting lineup still isn't confirmed, but one rookie big man for Dallas helped Mavs head coach Jason Kidd make the starting lineup decision for opening night easier.

Mavericks rookie becomes unsung hero in victory over Pistons

His name is Dereck Lively II, and the No. 12 overall pick undoubtedly had his best game of the preseason in Dallas' 114-104 win over the Pistons.

Lively II finished with 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one block. The game came easy to him, and he fit like a glove next to Kyrie Irving.

Lively II and Irving connected on multiple lobs, and they looked confident in the pick and roll. This duo has the potential to be deadly, especially if Irving can facilitate the way he did tonight.

Irving finished with 11 assists and flashed his elite decision-making all night long. He looked excellent as the primary ball handler and was getting everyone involved.

Dallas led for the majority of the game, and Lively II was ready to score whenever he was called upon. His best bucket of the game arguably came when he grabbed an offensive rebound, pivoted, and threw down a reverse slam.

This was just a glimpse of Lively II's elite athleticism, and he has a great feel for the paint offensively.

"I'm looking forward to getting downhill a few more times and developing that one-two punch," Irving said on his connection with Lively II.

Irving and Lively II looked like a duo that had been playing together for years and Lively II's feel for the game was shining all game long.

Irving connected with Lively II on lobs and pocket passes, and Irving led the pick-and-roll like a maestro.

Lively II was aggressive after catching the ball in the paint, and his offensive game was assertive. He was always ready to score and looked the most confident he's been since being on the Mavs.

Lively II doesn't need to score to make his impact felt, and he makes his presence on the court by doing "the dirty work."

For all the latest news on the Dallas Mavericks and Dereck Lively II this season, stay tuned.