It's well documented that the Dallas Mavericks haven't had the best start to their preseason affairs after Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic have been riddled with minor injuries amidst a huge international road trip to start the season off.
On top of that, the Mavericks have started 0-3, which isn't too debilitating given that all of these games are only exhibition matchups, but it certainly is less than ideal.
There's nothing definitive to truly take away since nothing is finalized yet, but we can make some pretty well-educated generalizations in regard to some of the questions we had going into this season for Dallas.
3 things we've learned about the Mavericks since preseason has started
Jason Kidd seemed pretty poised in his post-game press conference after the Mavericks' 127-123 loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday though, and it goes to show we can't hit the panic button on all fronts yet because chemistry on the court doesn't pop up out of thin air during preseason.
"It’s a new team, we’ve got a lot of new faces, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re all on the same page offensively and defensively. The Western Conference is deep, so we’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game each and every night, and we’ve got to be healthy."- Jason Kidd
Nonetheless, here are 3 things we've learned about the Mavericks since preseason has started.
3. Dereck Lively II will likely start at center
Dereck Lively II has looked as good as one could hope for in his first few preseason games in Dallas so far. He's flashed some uncanny athleticism and has been able to deter some shots that no other center on the Mavericks' roster would even have the ability to contest. It hasn't been a walk in the park though as expected for Lively II.
Lively II got a warm welcome to the NBA when he got dunked on by Rudy Gobert in his preseason debut against Minnesota, and he's had his fair share of rookie mistakes since in terms of being out of position on defense, over-fouling, not boxing out, not setting solid screens, etc.
However, his activity as a shot blocker and size alone has been enough to basically solidify himself as the best center on the Mavericks roster through three preseason games. Dwight Powell has looked horrendous defensively to start preseason and newly-acquire center Richaun Holmes hasn't looked polished on both sides of the ball in limited preseason minutes thus far.
As is customary for most rookie centers, Lively II inevitably will make mistakes and get physically beaten on plenty of occasions this upcoming season. However, the other options on the table of starting Holmes or Powell aren't all too appealing at the moment considering how bad they've looked in limited preseason minutes.
Mark Cuban said he wouldn't be surprised if Holmes performs above expectations this year in Dallas, but we'll need to see more from him or Dwight Powell in all facets of the game if they want to challenge Lively II for the starting spot that reportedly is "his for the taking" according to Marc Stein in a recent broadcast appearance on Bally Sports Southwest.