Filling out the Mavericks' perfect starting lineup around Luka Doncic

Charlotte Hornets v Dallas Mavericks
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The Dallas Mavericks made plenty of headlines this week. Recently, the team was linked as a possible suitor for Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield. It was reported that Dallas had shown interest in the guard. The news is unsurprising, and the Mavs were linked to Hield throughout the offseason.

Other news included coach Jason Kidd and his recent revelations about the team this season. On Marc Stein's radio show, the coach explained his hopes for rookies Derick Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper. Kidd expressed his desire for both rookies to play a ton of minutes and possibly become starters for the team.

Filling out the Mavericks' perfect starting lineup around Luka Doncic

Another part of Kidd's plans was the Mavs' starting lineup. Last season, Dallas opened the season with a starting lineup that consisted of Luka Doncic, Spencer Dinwiddie, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, and JaVale McGee. By March, that lineup consisted of Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dwight Powell.

Now, that lineup could look a bit different this season. On Stein's show, Kidd revealed newcomer Grant Williams would start next to Doncic and Irving. As for the small forward and center position, it is unclear what Kidd is thinking. He mentioned the possibility of Green or Prosper starting at the three.

However, it is unsure who will be the starting center. Some possibilities include Powell or Lively II. Dallas did acquire Richaun Holmes in the offseason, but their plan with him isn't clear and he likely won't start.

Either way, the team must create the perfect starting lineup next to Doncic.

What does that look like? Who should be inserted into the lineup?

Here is what that lineup should look like.

Starting center: Dereck Lively II

One player who can complement Luka Doncic well is rookie Dereck Lively II. The 2023 draft pick has been working hard to gain valuable minutes on the team. He and Doncic made an instant connection
during the team's first training camp practice.

If the Mavs place Lively II in the starting lineup, it would give the team a center that gets it done on both ends of the court. In his one season in college, Lively shot the ball well, knocking in 65.8 percent of his shots.

Lively II was also named to the ACC All-Defensive Team. Lively finished last season with 82 blocks and averaged three blocks during Duke's postseason run. Against Oral Roberts in the opening round, he combined for six blocks and 12 rebounds.

Lively II's numbers would assist Dallas as they struggled inside the paint. Last season, Christian Wood was the team's leading shot-blocker with 1.1 blocks, while Doncic was the top rebounder with 8.6.

If Dallas decides to go with Lively II as a starter, it would open up the door to many opportunities. It would give the Mavs a true defender down low and a big who can do many things, from scoring inside and catching lobs around the paint.