Draymond Green sets high expectations for Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II

Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks are rolling ahead of the NBA Playoffs, as the Mavericks have won 13 out of their last 15 contests after a less than ideal stretch coming out of the All-Star break. The Mavericks' recent success comes with some crucial changes in their starting lineup, with Daniel Gafford and Derrick Jones Jr. joining this unit. They have bolstered the Mavericks' length and physicality on the defensive end to another level.

This development has caused Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II to come off the bench, as the 20-year-old rookie doesn't quite have the same level of strength and physicality that Gafford has shown. However, Lively II has taken his assignment off the bench with pride, as the rookie is averaging 9.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game in the 11 games since being asked to come off the bench.

Those numbers are eerily similar to Lively II's counting stats for the whole season, yet he's only played 18.9 minutes since being relegated to the bench. This goes to show how much Lively II has developed on both sides of the ball this season, as the Mavericks view Lively II as a player of nearly equal caliber to Gafford when you take into consideration that both centers play close to the same amount of minutes per game when they are both available.

Draymond Green predicts Dereck Lively II will be an All-Star

The biggest issue for Lively II recently has actually been his availability, as a flurry of minor injuries has kept him in and out of Dallas' lineup throughout this second half of the regular season. Lively II most recently sprained his knee against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night, an injury that could keep him out for the remainder of the regular season according to Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd.

Despite things seemingly turning for the worst for Lively II at this time in the year, he's remained poised and ready through it all, a difficult attribute for a young player to acquire. That type of persistence is what will mold Lively II into an All-Star one day in his career, and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green seems to agree.

"Dereck Lively will be an All-Star in this league", Green said on his podcast interview with Mark Cuban at the beginning of the week. Despite his antics, Green is one of the most respected players in the league and has been a perennial All-Defensive team candidate, so seeing someone of his caliber projecting Lively II to be an All-Star one day should be a good sign for Mavericks fans.

Green's take on Lively II isn't far fetched either, as Lively II still has a ton of room for improvement both in the weight room as well as on the offensive side of the ball before his career is over, as the rookie hasn't even got close to reaching his ceiling yet despite how well he's played this year.

Hopefully, Lively II returns ahead of the playoffs for the Mavericks, as they'll desperately need him ready to go in their round-one matchup. For more on the Dallas Mavericks and Dereck Lively II as we approach the playoffs, stay tuned as we'll have you covered.