1. Con - Dereck Lively II
For all of the reasons why we just explained how Clint Capela is a perfect fit next to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, Dereck Livley II has the potential to be the same thing.
The 19-year-old rookie out of Duke was selected by the Mavericks with the 12th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft after they traded back from pick 10 in order to dump Davis Bertans’ contract and create a TPE.
Throughout Summer League, Lively showed off his defensive prowess, proving that he has the potential to be one of the better defensive big men in the NBA thanks to his elite athleticism and awareness.
He’s still a relatively raw prospect, but his defensive instincts are there, and playing next to Doncic would undoubtedly help him improve his offensive game.
Trading for Capela would mean Lively has no pathway to the starting spot for the next two seasons, which, for the Mavericks, may improve their ceiling now, but could hurt it in the long run.
As much as the Mavericks sohuld be trying to win now, developing Lively into the starting center by the end of this year, or sooner, could be what’s best for both him and the franchise.
He has all the skills to be the perfect center next to Doncic and Irving, and while Capela is that right now, Lively has the potential to be even better than the veteran.
Dallas should prioritize his development, keep their draft picks, and plan to start Lively by the end of the year instead of trading for Capela.