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Mavs Among Possible Draft Suitors For Dereck Lively II; Draws Tyson Chandler Comp

Dereck Lively II has continued to rise up NBA Draft boards with the Mavs being among his potential landing spots on June 22.

DALLAS — There are many possibilities swirling for the Dallas Mavericks and the 10th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft ahead of June 22. Between potentially trading the pick or selecting an intriguing prospect, the draft asset is an integral element to the team's pathway to improving after a 38-44 finish to their 2022-23 campaign.

Depending on how the draft plays out leading up to the 10th pick being on the clock, there is a strong probability that a variety of intriguing prospects will be available. With the Mavs focusing on improving on defense and rebounding after finishing 25th in defensive rating and 30th in total rebounding percentage, any prospect capable of making an immediate impact with a high ceiling is worth considering.

Aside from re-signing Kyrie Irving to remain as Luka Doncic's superstar running mate, the Mavs' top priorities this offseason include an overhaul of the center position with Dwight Powell and Christian Wood being impending free agents. Regardless, the need for impact players on defense regardless of positions remains evident. 

In terms of draft options, Taylor Hendricks and Jarace Walker have been names commonly mentioned by experts as great options for the Mavs in the event they were still available. However, Dereck Lively II is another name with strong upside as an impactful defender has risen up boards lately. 

Lively is a 7-1 center with a staggering 7-7 wingspan, who played one season at Duke before declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft. He was a consensus five-star recruit in his high school class. He started 27 of 34 games for the Blue Devils and averaged 5.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game. He shot 65.8 percent from the floor, 72.1 percent on 2s, 15.4 percent on 3s, and 60 percent on free throws.

In the latest NBA mock draft from Bleacher Report, the Mavs are projected to select Lively. Wasserman also mentioned there being teams motivated to trade up in the draft order in order to select Lively. Those teams are in need of adding a rim protector with upside. He's no longer expected to slip out of the 8-14 range on draft day. 

"Regardless, interest in Lively is mostly driven by his potential to improve a team's defensive identity with rim protection," Bleacher Report wrote. "The Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans are all potential suitors in the lottery, a range we no longer expect Lively to slip out of."

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Lively has garnered a perception from multiple teams as having "true Tyson Chandler potential." As a result, there's genuine buzz about him being projected "more and more" as a top-10 pick.

Stein reported the Atlanta Hawks — who possess the 15th pick — as a team "known to be interested" in trading up to acquire Lively. Other teams linked with "interest" in trading up for the center prospect include the Golden State Warriors, which was reported by Action Network.

When identifying a top option for the Mavs using the 10th pick last month, NBA Big Board host Rafael Barlowe recommended Lively as an ideal pick during an appearance on "'Inside The Mavs' with Grant Afseth and Kevin Gray." 

"If I'm Nico Harrison at number 10, I'm going with Dereck Lively," Barlowe said.

The Mavs have been linked in various trade rumors revolving around the 10th pick ahead of Thursday's draft. Given the urgent timeline to win with Doncic and Irving, there has been a looming sense from league observers that Dallas is best suited to make a trade of some sort that brings in some veteran talent. 

Among the most frequently mentioned has been a possible trade down with the Hawks in a deal centered around the 15th pick and a veteran frontcourt talent, but Atlanta has resisted including Clint Capela in a deal instead of John Collins. Another framework involved the Mavs moving Tim Hardaway Jr. and the 10th pick to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and the 31st pick. Nothing appears imminent on either front. 

Grant Afseth is a Dallas Mavericks reporter for and an NBA reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He previously covered the Indiana Pacers and NBA for CNHI's Kokomo Tribune and various NBA teams for USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Follow him on Twitter (@grantafseth), Facebook (@grantgafseth), and YouTube (@grantafseth).

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