Former Blue Devil Dereck Lively is now an employee of Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks and has been competing in summer play.
A lot of what he’s doing is what we saw at Duke: shooting well (75 percent) but not scoring tons, rebounding well and playing about half the game. The only big difference is that he hasn’t blocked a ton of shots, but that will come.
So how does he feel about his progress so far? Optimistic but realistic. Here’s part of what he told the Mavs Step Back Podcast:
“Whatever I’m given, I’m gonna take advantage of,” Lively said when asked if he thinks he could be the Mavs’ starting center as a 19-year-old rookie. “It’s not something where I’m gonna say, ‘I definitely have this spot,’ because I definitely haven’t earned that spot. I haven’t played an actual NBA game, I haven’t played against the whole team ... haven’t practiced against the big bodies on the team. So there’s still a lot things for me to be able to do so I can get to that point.”
What Dallas will probably appreciate about Lively is his willingness to do whatever he’s asked to do and his desire to be part of something bigger than himself. He proved at Duke that he’s a guy who will sacrifice to achieve that and he will with the Mavs as well.