Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II's success helped by 'perfect fit' mentorship

Nov 28, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) dunks the ball as
Nov 28, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) dunks the ball as / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks got a bounce-back win against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. Dallas won 121-115 as they scored 37 points in the fourth quarter. Luka Doncic stole the show as he had 41 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. He was going at it with Dillon Brooks for the entire game, and the notorious guard couldn't slow down Doncic.

Another part of the team's victory was the return of Dereck Lively II. The Mavs' rookie missed Saturday's game against the LA Clippers as he sat out with a lower back contusion.

The absence of Lively II's interior presence made it difficult for Dallas to stop the Clippers. The team was outrebounded 57-37 and allowed 54 points inside the paint.

Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II's success helped by 'perfect fit' mentorship

However, this wasn't the case Tuesday, as Dallas was only outrebounded by two. Lively II played his part, finishing with eight points, five rebounds, and one block.

So, what has been the difference in Lively II's success this season? Could it be that Dallas got lucky with their draft selection? Or how about the help from a former Mav?

How about the second option? Or possibly both.

The Mavericks traded for Lively II during the 2023 NBA Draft, as they sent their 10th selection, and Davis Bertans for the No. 12 pick and a traded player exception.

2011 NBA Champion Tyson Chandler was excited about the selection. In September, he spoke with the All The Smoke podcast, expressing his willingness to help the Mavs' rookie.

"As the draft was coming along, I watched a little bit of tape, and I was like, 'I hope they get this kid.' Gives me something to do, like a project. A project to work on."

Tyson Chandler

Chandler elaborated on the selection. He mentioned how he enjoyed Lively II's personality and that he was someone Dallas needed.

Lively II spoke about Chandler's mentorship at the beginning of the season as he expressed nothing but gratitude and excitement. Being mentored by an NBA Champion is something he had never experienced before.

"Just being able to be in games, be in practices, and just having somebody to ask questions – ask about timing, ask about footwork, ask about when to do something and when not to – is just a great asset to have."

Dereck Lively II

Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki recently spoke on the connection between Chandler and Lively II while he was on the broadcast for the Mavs and Rockets game. Nowitzki was great on the broadcast and gave solid insight on his thoughts on the team all game long.

When asked about the relationship between the two, Nowitzki mentioned how it's a great match.

Chandler was an integral part of the 2011 team. He played a massive role in helping Nowitzki and the Mavs win their first NBA Championship.

So, what are the chances Lively II could also bring a title to Dallas? Is it possible with the help of Chandler, he might become one of the dominant centers in the league?

The sky is the limit for the Dallas rookie.

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