NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Victor Wembanyama remains at No. 1 after historic numbers

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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4. Dereck Lively II

Last rank: 7

Dereck Lively II and the Dallas Mavericks have been rolling since their last losing streak. They have won nine of their last ten games, their solo loss came to the OKC Thunder without their star Luka Doncic.

Since being moved to the bench, the Mavericks have gone on this insane run that has seen them dramatically beat the Denver Nuggets. While the Mavs have been winning with Lively II on the bench, this is no knock on the rookie standout. In fact, Lively II has played some of the best basketball of his young career while being on the bench.

Against the Spurs a few weeks ago, Lively II had one of the better games of his rookie season and proved he could be a potential defensive stopper for Victor Wembanyama. Lively II finished the night off with 12 points and four rebounds but kept a straitjacket around Wembanyama which allowed the Mavericks to make a late fourth-quarter run.

While Lively II's minutes have largely decreased since being moved to the bench, he is flourishing on both ends of the floor. Playing with the bench unit has cleared up some of the down-low action for Lively II, and fans have seen him take more and more jump hooks as an answer.

The Mavericks will need to finish the season off strong if they wish to avoid the Play-In Tournament, and Lively II will be a critical part of that success.