The Dallas Mavericks are just weeks removed from officially kicking off the 2024 season. After a series of roster moves by general manager Nico Harrison and his front office, many expect the Mavericks to be a legit contender this season.
A major part of that will be Mavericks big man Derick Lively. Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star big man Karl Anthony Towns believes that the Mavericks center was the right pick for Dallas.
“I think he’s extremely athletic,” Towns said after the Timberwolves 104-96 preseason win over the Mavericks via Sports Illustrated.
“The way I’ve seen him on the court, he’s willing to learn and has a great attitude, so I think Dallas has a good one there.”
Derick Lively Sounds off After First NBA Action
Lively was selected 12th overall in the 2023 NBA draft. And after the Mavericks parted ways with both Javale McGee and Christian Wood, they will rely heavily on Lively’s efforts if they hope to compete for a title.
That will likely include going up some of the most talented big men in the league. Lively got a first glimpse of that in the preseason against the Timberwolves having to go up against a bonafide All-Star center in Towns, as well as a former Defensive Player of the Year in Rudy Gobert.
After the game, Lively said that going up against Towns and Gobert served as a reminder of just how far he has to go to reach his desired level of play.
“Just to be able to go up against two All-Stars like that — two people who have been in the league for multiple years and have made a name for themselves — you kind of just push yourself and realize how far you have to get, and just the steps you gotta take to get there,” Lively said.
Timberwolves Stars Praise Derick Lively
As a rookie, it will be hard for him to duplicate the numbers that Christian Wood put up last season. But he has enough raw talent to earn the acknowledgment of both Towns and Gobert, which should have Mavericks fans feeling optimistic.
“I’m happy for the rookie,” Gobert said of Lively via Sports Illustrated. “I think he has a lot of talent. Obviously, I didn’t get to see from a matchup in one game, but he has the potential. 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.”
Towns also added that Lively will benefit from playing with a playmaker like Doncic.
“For a big man on the court, you must be versatile. The NBA is asking big men to do more than ever,” Towns added. “I’d say just to keep utilizing his talents. He’s also got the intangibles and maximizes them, especially with someone like Luka who is throwing the ball at the rim like that for him, getting him on some space.”