The Dallas Mavericks have selected Duke center Dereck Lively with the 12th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, trading the 10th pick and Davis Bertans to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks dumped Bertans salary and the Thunder were able to move up two spots.
The Mavericks then selected Lively, despite Cam Whitmore remaining on the draft board. Whitmore was initially projected to be a top five selection, but might have fallen due to his medicals not checking out.
Lively, on the other hand, enjoyed a meteoric rise. He provides the potential for rim protection and rebounding while not being lost on the perimeter. There is certainly the potential for more trades, but for now the Mavericks have selected their rim protector of the future.
Whitmore would have been a more exciting selection, but there is a reason so many teams have passed on him. Lively has legitimate skills which can help the Mavericks, but is a bit of a project.
Lively averaged 5.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game last season for Duke. He also put up a little over an assist per game. Lively was great in the paint, averaging 72 percent on two-point field goals. He’ll have to learn some discipline on defense, however, as the young center averaged eight fouls per 100 possessions in college. If the Mavericks still have Tyson Chandler in the building, they should connect the two immediately.