Dereck Lively II 2023 NBA Draft profile: Better shot blocker than Victor Wembanyama?

2023 NBA Draft, Dereck Lively II
2023 NBA Draft, Dereck Lively II / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Dereck Lively II's strengths

Derrick Lively II is a solid rim runner and can anchor a defense. Here's a look at two of his top strengths observed from a breakdown of his film.

1. Shot blocking

Shot blocking is something that the Mavericks desperately need. Last season, they were 28th in the NBA with just 3.7 blocks per game. Their starting center, Dwight Powell, averaged 0.3 blocks per game.

Dallas needs someone that can protect the rim. Badly.

Lively II can be that guy. He averaged 2.4 blocks per game and 4.2 blocks per 36 minutes. The 4.2 blocks per 36 minutes are higher than Victor Wembanyama's 3.5.

Lively II is an elite rim protector and would be the best shot blocker on the Mavs from the moment they take him. He has great anticipation when players are going to shoot, and he uses his 7'7 wingspan to disrupt everything. His big frame allows him to not get bumped around easily, and when he's in the paint the other team has to consider that he can block anything at any moment.

Lively II also showed flashes of elite help-side defense. He has a good feel of when a player is going to shoot, and he leaves his man to help at the perfect time. Lively II won't be a liability in the pick-and-roll as he can stay with guards decently well and has the length to recover and block shots even when he gets beat.

2. Lob threat

Lively II isn't going to come in and be an elite offensive player. He struggles at posting up, can't shoot, and can't create his own shot. But he is a great lob catcher and finisher around the bucket.

He has good length and athleticism and is always a threat to throw down an alley-oop slam. Lively II would often be left open on the weak side and his point guard would lob it up to him for an easy bucket. He runs the rim well and is good at finishing second-chance points off offensive rebounds. He dunks everything, and Dallas would thrive with this type of energy.