10 Reasons the Dallas Mavericks will be back in NBA Finals next year

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, P.J. Washington
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, P.J. Washington / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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5. Dereck Lively II continues to improve by the day

When the Dallas Mavericks drafted Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 overall pick, no one knew what to expect from him. Some people thought he would play in the G League while others thought he could be the Mavs' center of the future.

This mystery surrounding Lively II didn't last long, as he outplayed Victor Wembanyama in his first career game. This growth for Lively II continued all season long, and he was an integral piece of the team during the playoffs.

He outplayed starter Daniel Gafford for most of the playoffs, and Lively II is showing all the signs that he will be a star one day. Lively II works hard, fits perfectly next to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, and has so much potential.

Lively II is just getting started, and him developing even more this summer will make the Mavs even more dangerous next year. During pregame warmups and practices this year, Lively II has showcased his growth as a shooter. He never attempted to let it fly off the catch in a regular season game, but that changed in Game 4 of the Finals.

Lively II knocked down a right corner three, and the stadium erupted.

Lively II seems honed in on improving this part of the game, and an improved Lively II may be what the Mavs need to return to the NBA Finals a year from now.