Rumors: Mavericks believe Dereck Lively II could be hitting the rookie wall

Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks
Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks are finally regaining some momentum as we approach the playoffs, as the Mavericks' victory over the Pistons on Saturday was Dallas’ second victory in a row. The Mavericks were in jeopardy of losing control of their season after losing five out of six games before this recent winning streak, so hopefully things continue to trend in the right direction with every game holding an increasing amount of importance at this juncture in the season for the Mavericks.

One of Dallas’ sore spots recently has been their center rotation, as Mavericks’ head coach Jason Kidd has yet to establish a consistent center rotation between Maxi Kleber, Dereck Lively II, and Daniel Gafford. Lively II has dealt with some nagging minor injuries over the past month that have kept him in and out of the lineup, not to mention that the big man was absent from Dallas’ game against Detroit due to personal reasons.

Rumors: Mavericks believe Dereck Lively II could be hitting the rookie wall

97.1 The Freak's Kevin Gray Jr. reported that Dallas thinks Lively II could be hitting the rookie wall, and his defense hasn't been the same as it was before. On the same day that Gray Jr. reported this, Gafford started over Lively II against the Miami Heat.

Lively II's production from an offensive and rebounding standpoint has also gone down a bit during this recent stretch, as he's only averaging 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds over Dallas' last 10 games, though some of that can be attributed to Kidd only playing Lively II 19.2 minutes per game during that stretch as well.

Lively II’s recent status in Dallas’ lineup makes the Mavericks far less malleable up front, but if Kidd can manage Dallas’ center minutes better going forward and Lively II can get back to full strength after hitting the rookie wall a little bit, then Dallas will be poised to fortify their rim protection ahead of the playoffs.

Dallas and Lively II have a chance to prompt a three-game winning streak with a victory tonight, as Dallas faces off against the Chicago Bulls on the road. For more on Dereck Lively II and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned as well have you covered.