Dereck Lively II knows what he has to improve on and will
Lively has a ton of work to do in nearly every facet of the game. He's a gifted athlete and has the potential to be a game-changing rim protector, but adding size to his frame as well as being out of position on defense will be huge points of emphasis that Chandler will need to inflict on Lively II as he continues to develop.
Both Chandler and Lively had limited offensive arsenals coming into the NBA outside of rim running and offensive rebounding. Dereck flashed a three-point jump shot at Duke last season, but it was inconsistent and will need plenty of work. Playing with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will help Lively get the ball with more space to work with, but there's still a lot that Lively will need to fine-tune.
Chandler thinks he can shorten the learning curve for Lively though and talked about the mentorship he can provide to make Lively a more expansive player than even Chandler was himself in an interview with Dallas Basketball's Grant Afseth.
"I want him to be better than me, to be honest. I'm trying to teach him things that I learned later and during the course of my career. Trying to shorten his learning curve, but I see a lot of great things. I love his attitude. He's willing to learn. He comes in with a great spirit every day, works really hard, and is a really good teammate."- Tyson Chandler
Chandler is already rubbing off on Lively to a pretty high degree, and it could be seen this past Summer League in Las Vegas, as Lively II was highly vocal on defense for a young player. Lively II was extremely humble regarding how he played in the Summer League after some up-and-down outings, and he and the Mavs know there is a lot to work on going forward.
Chandler only ended up finishing with one All-Star appearance throughout his historic career that featured an NBA Championship, Defensive Player of the Year award, and Olympic Gold Medal. Tyson was an other-worldly talent on defense and was a great rebounder, but he was admittedly pretty limited in his offensive game, especially as the modern NBA playstyle continued to adapt.
Lively II is only 19 years old, and if Chandler can shorten the learning curve for Lively II on some of the more principle aspects of being an NBA big and move onto the intangibles that will make Lively elite, then Lively will be a huge force to reckon with and an All-Star level center whenever that day comes.
There is no guarantee that Lively II will reach that level. But with a mentor like Chandler who can provide a unique level of relatability to the ever-receptive young Lively II, as well as the physical tools that not even Chandler himself had, Lively II could very well project to be an All-Star caliber player for Dallas in the coming years, especially if Chandler stays on staff as a mentor.
We'll have you covered with all the latest news and rumors surrounding the Dallas Mavericks for the rest of this offseason and training camp, so stay tuned.