Throughout large periods of the 2022-23 NBA season and this offseason, one thing was apparent for the Dallas Mavericks.
The need for a starting center.
There were many attempts to mend this issue by Dallas showing interest in signing and trading for multiple centers throughout the NBA. Even though Dallas showed interest, no move came to fruition.
3 reasons Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II will be a fan favorite
Just a few weeks after the Mavericks were bounced out of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, the Mavericks made a blockbuster trade for center Christian Wood.
Wood's tenure in Dallas could be summed up as underwhelming.
Wood, however, did flash offensive potential, but due to head coach Jason Kidd's inability to play Wood throughout large stretches, his expertise was largely never used.
The Dallas Mavericks would also go on to add NBA veteran JaVale McGee to a three-year deal last offseason. McGee's veteran presence at the time was a need for their Mavericks, and he was promised a starting role. This deal would very quickly backfire, however, as McGee would presumably have his starting role stripped from him within the first ten games of the season.
McGee's inability to play consistent minutes and be the defensive anchor he once was limited his time in Dallas. Many would go as far as to say that the signing of McGee could be one of the worst in team history.
The center position would once again be thrusted onto Dwight Powell. His fit alongside Luka Doncic and ability to fit inside Kidd's scheme gave him the upper hand over many of the other candidates. However, the Mavericks' need for a center was apparent.
The Mavericks addressed this issue at the 2023 NBA Draft by drafting center Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 overall pick. Here are three reasons why he will be a fan favorite and loved by many fans.
3. Likability off the court
Growing up, Lively II dealt with many hardships. At the age of seven, he dealt with his father's passing, and just a few years later, his mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. These early hardships would help shape him into the person he is today.
Like many, he would help turn this early life adversity into motivation for his basketball career. While doing so, he would also learn to help within his community and brighten others' days.
Throughout Lively II's basketball career, his mother would be right by his side even after being diagnosed with cancer. This relationship with his mother every step of the way will be very liked by many fans.
His attitude towards the game and fans will also be very loved by many. Lively II is also easy to connect with as he is so young. He is a cheerful guy and will fit perfectly into the Mavericks' culture.