How this Mavericks legend can turn rookie Dereck Lively II into an All-Star

2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Dereck Lively II has heard all the Tyson Chandler comparisons since the moment he was traded to Dallas on draft night.

The dimensions of the two 7-footers are nearly identical. Both are listed at 7-foot-1, and Lively II somehow has an even longer wingspan than the 7-foot-3 wingspan of Chandler, as he possesses an astounding 7-foot-7 wingspan.

Along with them being similarly built, Lively II and Chandler were both highly touted recruits coming out of high school. Chandler chose to go straight to the NBA right out of high school, an option not currently available for players in today's game.

Lively II opted for the pristine Duke University as he had the pick of the litter in terms of Power 5 offers to choose from, but both players clearly have displayed that they come from humble beginnings.

Tyson Chandler is the perfect role model and mentor for Dereck Lively II

Chandler didn't have an easy route to becoming one of the highest-paid centers in the NBA and had to stand tall in the midst of adversity growing up. He highlighted this in an interview with Andscape's Marc J. Spears a few years ago.

"My circumstances were tough. When I was sophomore and a junior, my family was homeless. I was staying from couch to couch."

Tyson Chandler

Lively II has had quite an egregious journey to the NBA as well.

His father died of a drug overdose when he was only seven years old, and his mother, Kathy Drysdale, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma only two years later. Despite a seemingly unfathomable amount of pain and adversity that Lively II had to face at such a young age, he hasn't let that distract them from his main goal of reaching the NBA and making his parents proud.

Chandler and Lively II aren't pure replicas at the end of the day, but the point remains that the Mavs have two extremely hard-working, humble, and tough individuals in Chandler and Lively II. Chandler is the perfect mentor to an eager Lively II and will be able to recite his experiences and tribulations he faced in the NBA to Lively to help him develop.

In an interview with Dallas Basketball's Dalton Trigg, Lively II voiced his excitement about having Chandler as a mentor.

"Man, It's honestly amazing. You know, I've never actually been coached by a big. I've never been coached by someone who's (a seven-footer), somebody who's been in this game, who knows the details, the tricks, the nitty-gritty things. Just being able to be in games, be in practices, and just having somebody to ask questions – ask about timing, ask about footwork, ask about when to do something and when not to – is just a great asset to have. Being able to have him in my corner right now, I'm just so grateful, and I'm just gonna take advantage of it daily."

Dereck Lively

As expected, Chandler is equally excited about getting a chance to mentor Lively II and was very complimentary when asked about Lively on the "All the Smoke" podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes.

"[I'm] trying to get him right. He wants to learn, he's active, and right now he's a sponge."

Tyson Chandler