Dallas Mavericks start, bench, cut: Dereck Lively II, Richaun Holmes, Dwight Powell

2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Bench: Dereck Lively II

Dereck Lively II has the highest ceiling of any player on this list, but the safe answer for his role right now would be for him to come off the bench.

Lively II is only 19 years old and played just one year of college ball at Duke. He has all the tools to be the center of the future for the Dallas Mavericks, as he is an excellent rim protector, rebounder, athlete, and lob catcher, but it doesn't seem like the Mavs will start him just yet.

The Mavs seem to bring their rookies into the scene slowly, as we saw last year with Jaden Hardy, and Lively II's player development path could look similar to Hardy's.

Dallas may play him sparingly at the beginning of the season, let him develop in the G League, and then become a solidified rotation piece by the end of the year. Being "the guy" on the Texas Legends last season worked wonders for Hardy, and it could do the same for Lively II.

Fans should be excited about Lively II because the strengths that he brings happen to be the Mavericks' weaknesses. The Mavs have needed an elite rebounder and shot blocker for some time now, and Lively II should anchor the Mavs' defense for years to come.

Lively II could end up grabbing the starting spot, and he seems motivated to do so, but it seems most likely that Dwight Powell is the starter right now.