Dallas Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II has begun his NBA career with a level of shooting accuracy that’s almost hard to believe, especially for a first year player.
Lively’s 77.8 per cent shooting ranks him second in the entire NBA behind Charlotte’s Mark Williams and his Dallas Mavericks squad is currently sitting at 6-1, the second-best record in the league (albeit on a fairly easy schedule to start the season).
And while Lively’s shooting efficiency jumps off the stat sheet, he’s also been having a huge impact on the defensive end. And in that regard, Lively has been helping Dallas where they need it most.
The Mavericks had the 25th-ranked defence last season, and they were 27th in the part of the season that featured Kyrie Irving.
This year they are in the middle of the pack, which may not sound like much, but it’s a significant improvement.
The eye test suggests Dallas’ defence is better when Lively plays and the numbers back that up: the Mavs give up 112.7 points per 100 possessions when Lively is on the court and 112.7 when he sits.
The 19-year-old big man already has great chemistry with the Mavericks’ primary guards, an impressive feat this early in the season. It’s becoming increasingly clear that he’s simply one of those players who can fit in seamlessly anywhere, and that’s exactly what Dallas needed.
The Mavericks might’ve found a good one in Dereck Lively II.