Duke fans understood last year just how good Dereck Lively could be. He wasn’t asked to do a whole lot offensively last season but he still shot a high percentage and, when he got a chance, could score at a high rate.
But not like he’s doing with the Dallas Mavericks.
For many, Lively has been a revelation. He’s playing at a level that will get him All-Rookie team consideration.
In Saturday’s game against the OKC Thunder, Lively was matched up against fellow rookie Chet Holmgren.
Holmgren had to sit out last year after breaking his foot in the pre-season and so far, he’s been terrific. He’s stronger than the frail Holmgren we saw at Gonzaga and if you didn't understand that he’s ferociously competitive before, you should now.
Which makes Lively’s outing Saturday so impressive.
Lively held Holmgren to 4-10 from the floor for 11 points, out rebounded him 16-11, including 6-3 on the offensive end and had seven blocks to five for Holmgren. And he scored 20 points on 9-9 from the floor.
All around an impressive performance. But the numbers can’t explain just how well he played. This play, however, hints at it.
Watch Lively take the ball to the hole, double-clutch and slam it home right over Holmgren, who is already one of the best shotblockers in the NBA.
Years from now, this one will be on his retirement video. It’s that good.
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