The first full month of the NBA season isn't even over. Nevertheless, it's already become apparent how much of a steal Dereck Lively II was when Dallas used the 12th overall selection to draft him.
Lively II has cemented himself as an invaluable part of the Dallas Mavericks lineup. Over his first 14 games, he holds averages of 8.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game.
The 19-year-old has also played with absurd efficiency. He shoots 69.4 percent from the floor. Furthermore, Lively II ranks in the top 20 in both true shooting and effective field-goal percentage.
5 Players drafted ahead of Mavs rookie Dereck Lively II that he's already outplayed
The Mavericks have seemingly made the perfect selection. Only a handful of rookies have outplayed the former Blue Devil this season. And for the most part, these youngsters were selected ahead of Lively II or the year prior in Chet Holmgren's case.
As for the players selected before Lively II, several have either underperformed or not been given much of a chance to contribute. Here, we'll discuss five players taken before Lively II that have already been outperformed by the young Dallas star.
5. Jett Howard
Original Draft Position: 11th
We'll kick things off with Jett Howard, the wing taken immediately before Lively II. As soon as Howard's name was called on draft night, skeptics clamored to denounce the selection. While the Lively II selection was also met with skepticism, Howard has yet to quiet the doubters.
The Orlando Magic used their second of two first-rounders to add shooting to their roster. A year ago, Orlando ranked 25th in 3-point field goals made and 26th in 3-point percentage.
The Magic selected the smooth-shooting Howard with the idea that he'd help solve their shooting woes. At Michigan, Howard knocked down 2.7 3-pointers a game at 36.8 percent. However, the young wing only shot 41.4 percent from the floor and lacked quality contributions in other areas.
Howard was consistently ranked as a top 25 prospect, but hardly ever cracked the lottery. His pre-draft ranking has held true thus far.
The former Wolverine has only played in five big league contests. And unsurprisingly, he hasn't done much. Howard has scored two points and recorded two rebounds and two assists.
Of course, the Magic sport a deep and young roster, flush with wings and forwards. The Howard selection may have been more about the long-term than the present as the Magic have raced to a 12-5 record.
In recent weeks, the Magic has sent Howard to the G League as reps were limited in Orlando. In three games with the Osceola Magic, Howard has averaged 19.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
A strong showing in the G League may be exactly what Howard needs to build confidence before he hist the NBA hardwood again. Nonetheless, the selection of Howard before Lively II hasn't panned out as well as expected.