3 Studs, 2 duds in Mavericks' first loss of the season to Nuggets

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets
Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages
2 of 5

4. Dud - Dereck Lively II

Nikola Jokic is the best center in the NBA. It's not even up for debate, despite Joel Embiid's dominance in the East. This matchup was Lively II's first real test as the Dallas defensive anchor before he gets his shot at Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo later this month.

In this contest, Grant Williams began the game defending Jokic, but Lively II did get his shot at defending the Serbian superstar later on.

It seemed Dallas used Lively II rather as a backline anchor. Whenever Jokic caught the ball, the Mavs sent an additional defender to get the ball out of Jokic's hands. Thus, Jokic would look to pass to the open player.

After the next player had received the ball, the Dallas defense was tasked with a quick rotation. Lively II roamed the interior and found his way onto plenty of different players with this approach.

However, the former Blue Devil didn't make much of a difference in this defensive approach. He only recorded three defensive rebounds and blocked one shot in nearly 25 minutes of game time.

On the offensive end was no better. Lively II didn't touch the ball often and only shot three times, making two of them. It was surprising to see Lively II's lack of involvement coming off a six assist game against the Chicago Bulls.