7 Mavericks players looking to make a name for themselves at training camp

2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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6. Dereck Lively II

On the day of the 2023 NBA Draft, Mark Cuban said that the Dallas Mavericks' No. 1 priority was adding a rim protector.

Later that night, the Mavs selected Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 pick in the draft. Dallas knew what kind of player they needed and went out and got him later that day.

Lively II has already proved that he can be an elite rim protector and defender at NBA Summer League, and now he gets to play with Luka Doncic at training camp for the first time. If Lively II is a great match with Doncic, he could fight his way into the starting lineup.

If not, he will likely have a role off the bench. Lively was a long-term investment for Dallas and could develop into the Mavs' center of the future, but it would be beneficial for the Mavs and him if he was ready to heavily contribute immediately.

Lively II will have to show offensive value at training camp to earn that starting spot, as Dwight Powell has excellent chemistry with Doncic and is the likely leader for the starting job heading into camp. Powell is also a great hustler and earns his minutes that way.

Lively II's training camp could decide if he will be a rotation piece for the Mavs early on or if he will end up spending his first few months in the league developing with the Texas Legends. Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said that he'll be starting at training camp and early in the preseason, but it seems that is just to see how he fits with the "big group" of Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and Grant Williams.

Neither path would be bad for Lively II, and he could turn into an elite center over the next few seasons.