3 reasons rookie Dereck Lively II should be the Mavericks' starting center

Sep 29, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) poses for a photo during
Sep 29, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) poses for a photo during / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Shot-blocking

Perhaps the biggest need on the Dallas roster is shot-blocking. A season ago, Dallas averaged a measly 3.7 blocks per game, good for 27th in the league.

The Mavs only rostered one player who averaged more than a block per game, Christian Wood, and they let him walk in free agency. Oddly enough, due to his poor defense.

Over the past ten seasons, the Mavs have only had three seasons where a player averaged more than 1.5 blocks per game.

Now with Lively II on the roster, Dallas may have a player average 1.5 blocks per game or more for the foreseeable future. Although it's a mighty small sample-size, Lively II has already averaged 2.0 blocks per game in the Mavs' first three preseason games.

Dallas prioritized improving the porous defense from a year ago this offseason. The Mavs added Grant Williams via free agency (sign and trade) and spent their draft picks on defense-first players.

However, the Dallas roster is still void of quality defenders, especially on the perimeter. With Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving manning the guard spots, the Dallas defense will surely be in need of a backline anchor.

Although Lively II isn't a well-rounded player yet, he does provide exceptional shot-blocking. His size and enormous wingspan make him a threat to block everything in his vicinity.

And unlike many bigs who appear statuesque on defense, Lively II has the innate ability to slide his feet and rotate like a wing on defense. Rotating and positioning can be difficult for most young bigs, but the former Blue Devil already has the athleticism to make his mark as a backline defender.

We'll have you covered with all the news on the Dallas Mavericks and Dereck Lively II this season, so stay tuned.