One of the most surprising developments of the 2023-24 NBA season for the Dallas Mavericks is just how fast Dereck Lively II has been able to mold himself into Dallas' ideal center to pair with Luka Doncic.
At only 19 years old, Lively II has ascended tremendously in terms of his ability to be an active switch defender, protect the rim, and his rim-rolling among a variety of other facets of the game.
Dallas still has a myriad of defensive issues to fix despite defying most fan expectations at 15-9 through 24 games so far, and lots of it stems from their lack of positional size at the small and power-forward spots.
Rumors: Former Mavericks' center trade target available via trade
While Lively II's stellar play may have negated Dallas' front office's desire to search for a starting-caliber center, they would likely still welcome the addition of a backup big, even though finding a bigger-bodied wing would seem like a higher priority in Dallas right now.
One must take into consideration how Dallas' backup centers have played this year, as Richaun Holmes and Dwight Powell have been on the fringes of the rotation lately, and both have played as if their best days are behind them up to this point in the season.
Maxi Kleber has been plagued by a toe dislocation most of the season and hasn't played since November 8 against the Toronto Raptors.
Even when he was on the court, Kleber wasn't playing the most encouraging basketball, as he looked a step slow on defense and unconfident in his abilities on offense. If none of Kleber, Powell, or Holmes can be consistently relied upon for more than 15 minutes a game, perhaps Dallas should look to consolidate one of their backup bigs elsewhere for a wing or other backup big-man.
Perhaps Dallas could poke their binoculars out and search for another big man via trade at some point before this year's trade deadline, and luckily for them, a flurry of players just became eligible to be traded after December 15. A few players were even rumored to be available in arecent article on Hoops Wire by NBA insider Sam Amico.
One of these players is none other than Phoenix Suns center Bol Bol. At 7-foot-2 with a 7-foot-8 wingspan, Bol has had a confusing NBA journey through four seasons in the league thus far. Bol hasn't shot the three-ball as well as initially expected thus far in his career (only 29.3 percent for his entire career), and given his frail frame, it has adversely affected other facets of his game such as his driving ability because defenses can sag off of him and use their strength to defend against him.
That being said, Bol's athletic tools are tantalizing, and he's a great weak-side shot-blocker who could become a better one-on-one defender if he adds some strength. Bol has shown some scary potential with his ability to dribble in the open court, but in most instances that he elects to do so, he ends up turning the ball over or making a bad read.
It wouldn't seem like Bol is the answer for Dallas at backup big, as Amico listed the Spurs as the most plausible candidate to get Bol if he is shopped. If Dallas did bring in Bol though, it would likely be a dump at the deadline, or Bol would be part of a bigger trade because of him being on only a minimum contract.
Nonetheless, Bol would be an intriguing project player for Dallas, and given how low-cost he'd be perhaps Dallas would take a look at acquiring him given they registered interest in him during the draft. Bol did average a career-high nine points per game on just about 21 minutes a game with Orlando last season, so perhaps he just needs a change of scenery.
Stay tuned with us for more on what the Dallas Mavericks will do ahead of this trade deadline, as we’ll have you covered.