NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Ausar Thompson falls, familiar face takes his place

Dec 14, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) dunks the ball during
Dec 14, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) dunks the ball during / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Dereck Lively II

Last week's rank: 6

Lively II regains his top-five spot in the Rookie Power Rankings and continues to improve week by week.

Lively II has had yet another strong week, as he has proven to be a critical piece for the Mavericks. Over this recent week, Lively II became the league leader in field goal percentage and hasn't looked back since.

In addition, Lively II was on a block streak like no other. He had two plus blocks in five straight games, including a seven-block game against the OKC Thunder. Just a month into his rookie season, fans can already see his hard work and basketball IQ paying off just with his stats.

Lively II's recent play on the court was also a strong reason the Mavericks were on a four-game winning streak. Without Lively's ability to disrupt shots and cut off passing lanes, the Mavericks wouldn't be close to where they are today.

Offensively, Lively II has become a huge contributor. He's been able to showcase his new hook shot ability on occasion and has proven to have some of the best catching in the league. He's virtually unstoppable when he has the ball in his hands at the rim. His connection with Luka Doncic is also phenomenal, and Dallas could have a special duo for the future.

The Mavericks have struggled all season rebounding the basketball, but with Lively II, that problem has seemed to fade away at times. He's already had multiple 15-plus rebounding games, and this is only the beginning of his young career.

Lively II will need to have more 15 and 15 games to rise higher on this list, but fans have already seen the impact he can have on a nightly basis.