1. Stud - Dereck Lively II
Dereck Lively II's matchup versus the Minnesota Timberwolves last night proved to be an extremely difficult one as expected, but the rookie was night and day different compared to Dallas' first two preseason games versus Minnesota in Abu Dhabi. Granted, those first to games were Lively II's first NBA action in any capacity, but they were very telling in terms of the areas of the game that Lively II can work on.
Lively II had to deal with the likes of Rudy Gobert last night, and the Timberwolves have been doing a much better job at involving Gobert within the flow of their offense compared to last season. Despite that, Lively II battled as hard as he could against Gobert and didn't let him impose his will on him from a size perspective like we saw in Abu Dhabi.
Lively II, along with many other Mavericks, suffered rebounding-wise at the hands of Minnesota's big-man trio of Naz Reid, Gobert, and Towns last night. However, Lively II was extremely active and just missed the mark on a few 50/50 balls that he was in a decent position for. Lively II is working diligently to add strength and size, so those sorts of things will work themselves out over time, so fans shouldn't be concerned as Lively II is proving to be one of the most dynamic players from his draft class just 22 games into his NBA career.
Lively II finished with 15 points on a hyper-efficient 7-9 from the field, as he continues to prove how great he is at probing and sealing in the dunker spot as well as rim rolling. Last night continued to prove that Lively II should continue working on expanding his repertoire in the four-on-three, as he's done a great job of diagnosing when to attack or pass in those scenarios this season.
For more on Dereck Lively II's development along with everything else pertaining to the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned to us as we'll have you covered.