It's been a while since Dallas has had a dominant interior presence. In the history of the organization, only one big man has ever graced an All-NBA Defensive Team, and that was Tyson Chandler.
Fittingly enough, Lively II has been compared to Chandler. During his days in Dallas, Chandler provided the Mavs with a hulking interior presence who threw down ferocious dunks and rejected shots.
Chandler certainly provided a valuable lob target for Dallas guards. Chandler spent two seasons with Dallas, 2010-11 and 2014-15. In his first season with the Mavs, Chandler finished sixth in the NBA in dunks, and in his second season in Dallas, Chandler finished second in the league.
The Mavs' newest addition will surely provide similar aerial acrobatics to Chandler. In his lone season at Duke, Lively II recorded 58 dunks. For reference, he only made 77 total field goals. About 75 percent of Lively II's makes were dunks.
A few days ago, the former Blue Devil hopped on Duke Basketball's podcast, " The Brotherhood Podcast," to discuss how he felt leading up to the draft and what he'll provide the Dallas Mavericks in terms of his skillset.
When discussing his fit next to Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic, he acknowledged his athletic ability and Doncic's supernatural passing. Lively II seems confident he'll come in right away and use his massive frame and athleticism to spark the offense, especially as a lob threat.
"My job is to get him open and get to the rim...you're going to see some highlight lobs for sure, highlight put-backs and all."- Dereck Lively II
Doncic has never played with a dominant center since being in the NBA, and it'll be scary if he can get on the same page as Lively II.
Doncic will find him for alley-oops often and be his pick-and-roll partner of the future. Lively II will have plenty of chances to throw down highlight reel dunks, and Doncic will often be the one passing him the ball.
The Mavericks have been in search of a dominant interior presence for some time now. A player capable of catching lobs, setting picks, rebounding, and roaming the paint on defense will be essential to future success.
With Lively II, the Mavs seem to have their defensive cornerstone. Although it may take Lively II time to get adjusted to the rigors of the NBA, his presence will likely be felt sooner rather than later.
Stay tuned as we'll continue to keep you covered on Dereck Lively II, Luka Doncic, and all things Dallas Mavericks.