The Dallas Mavericks still want to improve their roster. Fresh off a disappointing season (subscription required) where they missed the playoffs, Dallas knew they had to get younger and more athletic. It led to an exceptional summer that saw them re-sign Kyrie Irving, trade for Grant Williams, and add two rookies that could be impactful for years to come. The Mavs are still searching for trades, but they should be happy with what they accomplished so far.
Dallas had just two young talents on their roster last year, but both developed well under head coach Jason Kidd and his staff. That gave the Mavericks front office even more reason to add youth to the roster. They added three rookies to get excited about, but fans should be patient. All three need time to develop.
Who should the Mavs be focused on improving? They want to build a title contender around Luka Doncic quickly, but having talent on rookie contracts is a massive help. Dallas has to decide which players are key pieces of their future and how to maximize them.
4 Players the Dallas Mavericks should develop, 2 they shouldn’t
Develop: Dereck Lively II
The Mavs traded back from tenth to 12th in the 2023 NBA Draft, but Lively II was always their target. They have a massive hole at the five, and the 7’1 big man was considered the second-best center in the class by most experts.
Fans should not expect too much too soon from the lottery selection. The 19-year-old spent just one season at Duke where he averaged 5.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game. Lively II is not ready to be the Mavericks starting center as a rookie, and he is years away from playing 30 minutes every night.
Dallas should bring him along slowly as they look to maximize his development. Start him out as the backup center and encourage improvement at every turn. The 19-year-old is a strong rebounder and shot-blocker that needs to learn how to play in the NBA.
Dereck Lively II is a key piece for the Dallas Mavericks moving forward, and they are eager to continue developing the talented 19-year-old.