This summer will be a pivotal one for the Dallas Mavericks, who will spend it looking for ways to improve their roster after a brutal end to this past season.
Despite having Luka Doncic, who made the All-NBA First Team, and Kyrie Irving, who the team traded for in a blockbuster deal at the deadline, the Mavericks missed the Play-In Tournament entirely.
Now, they will push forward in hopes of improving the roster, and that goal began at the 2023 NBA Draft, where they made a flurry of moves to add young pieces and veterans.
Dallas traded the 10th pick and Davis Bertans to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 12th pick, creating a TPE and drafting Duke’s Dereck Lively II. They then used the TPE to acquire Richaun Holmes from the Sacramento Kings, landing the 24th pick as well, which they used to select Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper.
The moves helped the Mavericks improve two positions of need - the center and forward spots - and both rookies should be poised to have fairly large roles in their first NBA season.
The Mavericks held an introductory press conference for Lively and Prosper on June 26, allowing both rookies to answer questions from the media.
When asked about Doncic, both players had nothing but kind words to say about the Mavericks superstar. Prosper called him “one of the best players in the world,” per Grant Afseth of Sports Illustrated.
Prosper, who is known for his athleticism and defensive abilities, also noted that he and Lively will stay ready to make cuts and get open for Doncic’s passes, which are a thing of beauty.
He also emphasized that he and Lively aren’t players who need the ball in their hands to be effective, stating that they will be able to mold their games around Doncic.
Meanwhile, Lively spoke about his excitement to catch lobs from Doncic, stating that it's "going to get scary whenever I set a really good pick" and Doncic gets into the lane. The 7-foot-1 center has a 7-foot-7 wingspan, is great at cutting to the rim, and loves to run in transition.
Heading into the draft, there was a ton of buzz around whether or not the Mavericks would trade the 10th pick. And while they technically ended up doing that, they made two selections in the first round.
Most assumed they would deal the pick in favor of adding veterans to the roster. Instead, the Mavericks chose to bring in two rookies with skillsets that perfectly fit next to Doncic.
The defensive presences of both Lively and Prosper will elevate Dallas on that end of the floor, and their offensive games should gel nicely with Doncic and Irving, too.
Fans should be excited about both rookies heading into next season.