Dallas Mavericks’ center Dereck Lively II has been selected as one of 11 NBA rookies who will play in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend this year.
The NBA announced the full list of participating players, including the 10 second-year players and seven G-League Ignite invitees who will make up the four-team Rising Stars field, on its social media channels on Tuesday. 2023 Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero headlines the group of sophomores, while Ignite invitees Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland are both in contention to be selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA draft.
This year’s Rising Stars Challenge will feature a mini-tournament with four teams and three games. The 21 NBA rookies and sophomores will be drafted onto three seven-player teams with the seven G-League players making up the fourth squad.
Lively is currently second among NBA rookies in rebounds per game, at 7.7, and third in blocks at 1.4 per game. In his last seven games, he’s averaging closer to 12 points, nine boards and three blocks per game.
The 2024 Panini Rising Stars ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/sThgZNvwxV— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 30, 2024
Lively matched his season- and career-high scoring output in the Mavs’ last game against Orlando, in a 20-point, 11-rebound performance that helped the Mavs slide by the Magic, 131-129. And he got a little tougher doing it — Lively was on the receiving end of an inadvertent smack to the face and a bloody nose from Wendell Carter Jr. in the fourth quarter during a tussle for a rebound. He came back and sunk a couple of key free throws despite his gushing face.
He’s been a premier lob threat since Game 1 when he’s been paired on the court with Luka Dončić, and he’s developing right before our eyes into something special down low. Perhaps that’s because he’s learning directly from the guy the Mavs hope he will one day he will emulate then surpass: former Mavs center and NBA champion Tyson Chandler.
The center out of Duke has been ranked No. 5 in each in each of the last two Kia Rookie Ladder updates, which tracks the progress of the top rookies in the league on a weekly basis for NBA.com. Remember — Lively was selected by Oklahoma City with the 12th pick then traded to the Mavs for Davis Bertans and the rights to Dallas’ 10th pick Cason Wallace. For Lively now to be thought of as a top-five rookie in his class is a pretty big boon for the Mavs, both in his immediate returns and for the future.
Other rookies selected for the Rising Stars Challenge include Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren, Scoot Henderson, Bilal Coulibaly, Keyonte George, Jordan Hawkins, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Brandon Miller, Brandin Podziemski, and Wallace.
The Rising Stars Challenge will be played on Friday, Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The teams will be coached by WNBA legend Tamika Catchings and former NBA stars Pau Gasol, Jalen Rose and Detlef Schrempf. Catchings, Gasol and Rose will draft their teams on Feb. 6. Games will be played to a final target score of 40 in the semifinals and 25 in the final.