2. Dereck Lively II has no competition for the starting spot
Entering training camp, many fans believed that Dwight Powell would once again be the Mavericks' starting center, and this would have been concerning for multiple reasons. However, very quickly, rookie Dereck Lively II rose and was announced as the starting center during the preseason.
Very early, fans realized just how good Lively II would be. Within the first few minutes of his first game, Lively II would record multiple blocks. On offense, the young center would open up many more opportunities for himself with his ability to roll with superstar Luka Doncic. Even his ability to probe in the paint was a nice change of pace for fans.
Simply put, on offense, Lively II was operating in ways Mavs fans hadn't seen in a very long time.
In the last preseason game against the Pistons, Lively II recorded a preseason-high 14 points, all of which came inside the paint. This included a savvy push shot that Lively II seems to have worked on. If Lively II can become this dominant on a nightly basis, the Mavericks could exceed expectations for this coming season.
However, fans should hold in their expectations. Expecting a rookie center to be great out of the gates is not very realistic. Lively II may get caught in uncomfortable situations like we saw against Rudy Gobert, but fans will see his improvement on a nightly basis.
Lively II should unquestionably be the Mavericks starting center, and with Kyrie Irving, Lively II could be better than anticipated.