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The Dallas Mavericks need Dereck Lively to hit the ground running

When the Dallas Mavericks traded back to select Dereck Lively 12th overall in the 2023 NBA Draft, he was immediately compared to Tyson Chandler, the defensive anchor of Dallas’ 2011 championship team. The Mavericks desperately need Lively to validate those comparisons by becoming the first center to deliver consistent, effective production at both ends of the floor since the team let Chandler walk away (twice). Chandler, who spent a lot of time mentoring Lively this summer as part of the Mavericks coaching staff, seems to believe that Lively has what it takes to live up to the high standard Chandler set when he patrolled the paint for the Mavericks, saying on a recent episode of the “All the Smoke” podcast that Lively reminds him of himself “a lot” and that Lively is a “sponge” who “wants to learn.