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Duke’s Lively And Whitehead Seem To Be In Good Situations After The NBA Draft

Both rising stars seem to have had good luck Thursday night

2023 NBA Draft Pick Portraits and Press Conferences
 BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 23: Dariq Whitehead #7 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a photo on June 23, 2023 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2023 NBA Draft is over now and former Blue Devils Dereck Lively and Dariq Whitehead and now we’re learning more about what led to their new teams (Dallas and Brooklyn, respectively) drafting them.

For Dallas, they liked Lively’s character, energy and his surprising outside shooting, with some comparing him to former Mavs center Tyson Chandler. What’s clear from reading through the links below is that Dallas really, really wanted Lively. It’s always good to be wanted.

For his part, Whitehead says don’t worry about his Duke injury: “I think I can definitely get back to that guy who I was. I feel like people tend to think that I’m not athletic from last year. That was due to me pretty much playing on one leg. I feel like I can definitely show the athletic part, and then really my playmaking. I feel like once I get back to 100 percent I can go back to showing back how I can be a great on-ball playmaker.”

And that’s pretty fair. There were a couple of things that we thought people were stupid about when it came to Whitehead in recent days. This is first on the list. What people should have focused on was the desire to play despite playing “on one leg.”

The other thing?

His “second injury.”

For some reason people keep reporting a second injury. There was no second injury. There was a second surgery to correct the first surgery, which didn’t work as well as the doctors had hoped.

It’s not ideal, but the human body is not a machine you take into a shop and bang back into shape. We all have different chemistries. We all heal differently.

So that was ridiculous and it may have hurt Whitehead. But he fell to Brooklyn, and the Nets have Martin O’Malley as their team doctor.

That’s the same Dr. O’Malley who performed Whitehead’s second surgery. He is as intimately aware of Whitehead’s condition as any one could possibly be. Obviously he’s totally fine with drafting Whitehead and quite a few teams are likely to regret passing on him but it’s too late for that now.

So both of them seem to be in good spots and both are valued by their new teams. Those are really good signs for their NBA futures.