3 things Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II must improve to reach his ceiling

2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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1. Screen-setting

Every single facet of the game of basketball is extremely important when you are trying to win games, especially at the NBA level. Details as minute as screen-setting could have major implications on a game if the mistake is repeated time after time.

Dereck Lively II's arguably biggest area of improvement will be in the screen-setting department. Lively II has a huge body and catch radius as a rim-roller, and he flashed just how dynamic he can be for Dallas in the pick-and-roll as a lob threat throughout various junctures during this past NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Lively II will also be getting set up in rhythm better in the pick-and-roll by Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, compared to the Mavs' Summer League guards that were facilitating him the rock this past July in Las Vegas. However, Lively II will still need to improve his ability to set screens drastically if he doesn't want to get played off the court on the NBA stage.

Lively II tends to always slip on his screens, meaning he foregoes actually setting the screen in an attempt to beat the defensive player who's tagging the roll-man by virtue of speed and athleticism, rather than anchoring down and setting a stout on-ball screen.

Slipping the pick-and-roll works well against certain defensive coverages, as can be seen below when Lively II caught an alley-oop from Luka Doncic on day one of Mavs training camp.

However, there will be plenty of times when Lively II will need to use his strength and cement himself as the on-ball screener, especially given that Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving tend to snake the pick-and-roll a lot of time, which requires a strong ball screen at the point of attack.

Lively II shouldn't have too much trouble getting better at screening as he puts on more size and becomes more disciplined, but it's one of his most glaring weak points that will need to improve if he wishes to reach his potential as a player

We'll have you covered with all the latest news and rumors surrounding the Dallas Mavericks as we continue to go through training camp and preseason, so stay tuned.