4. Dereck Lively II
Lively II was selected with the No. 12 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
He fills a huge position of need and fans could see the fit with the Mavericks just moments after the selection was made official. The 7-foot-1 center will have his work cut out, but he handily bolsters the center rotation with his presence.
The young center was showcased for the first time at the NBA level during the 2023 NBA Summer League. During his time in Vegas, Lively II proved why he was the No. 12 overall pick and why he would instantly help the Mavericks.
Lively II would demonstrate his ability to play in a pick-and-roll system, which could prove costly for opposing defenses when he's on the floor with Luka Doncic.
He would also illustrate his ability to block shots and be a viable switch defender. Lively II would oftentimes use his mobility and athleticism to stick with smaller defenders who demanded a switch. This attribute will help Lively II see the floor more often during his rookie season.
However, Lively II would have some growing pains. His lack of experience at the professional level would get him into some uncomfortable situations on the defensive end.
He would also oftentimes get caught on ball fakes which would lead to easy foul calls against the big man. Conversely, on the offensive end, Lively II would struggle to set solid screens.
He would either be too late to the roll or he would roll too soon leading to missed opportunities.
Lively II will still need to prove a lot but he is a prime candidate to shock many Mavs fans and become the starting center on opening night.