In the vibrant city of Abu Dhabi, the Dallas Mavericks faced the Minnesota Timberwolves in two thrilling NBA Global Games, showcasing the talents of rookie Derek Lively II. Despite the Mavericks ending both games with losses, Lively’s performance drew attention and optimism, offering a glimpse into the potential of this young player.
These games marked the NBA debut for Derek Lively II, and though the outcomes weren’t in the Mavericks’ favor, Lively’s individual statistics and growth throughout the matches were noteworthy. With limited playing time for rotation players, Lively averaged 18.6 minutes per game, contributing 2.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and an impressive 2.0 blocks.
Mavs coach Jason Kidd praised the rookies, acknowledging the challenges they faced against the formidable frontcourt duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. Kidd noted, “There was some good stuff that Derek did going against Gobert and KAT.”
Facing off against All-Star bigs like Towns and Gobert served as a valuable learning experience for the 7-foot-1 Duke product. Lively recognized the need for a physical adjustment to the NBA level and expressed confidence in his ability to adapt. “You have to be able to use a lot of physicality,” Lively explained. “The floor is bigger, but it just takes time to get used to it. You have to learn and move on to the next game.”
Lively acknowledged the volatility that comes with being a young big man in the league but emphasized the steps needed to refine his game. With a towering 7-foot-7 wingspan and explosive athleticism, Lively has the potential to become a defensive anchor and rim roller.
Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the Timberwolves’ star big men, spoke highly of Lively’s potential. “I think he’s extremely athletic,” Towns commented. “Dallas has a good one there.” Towns not only recognized Lively’s athleticism but also praised his attitude and willingness to learn.
Rudy Gobert, another formidable opponent for Lively, shared similar sentiments. “I’m happy for the rookie,” Gobert said. “He has a lot of talent. It depends on how he’s going to adapt, how he’s going to work, and how he’s going to handle being in the NBA. At the end of the day, that’s the toughest part of this league.”
Next on Derek Lively II’s agenda is a showdown with Real Madrid in Spain, and he’ll cap off the preseason with the Mavs’ final game against the Detroit Pistons at the American Airlines Center. As Lively hones his skills and adapts to the rigors of the NBA, his journey holds the promise of growth, formidable challenges, and the thrill of witnessing a budding rookie leave his mark on the basketball universe.