Former Duke star Dereck Lively II “living-it-up and lighting-it-up”, going 16-16 from the field for the Dallas Mavericks during NBA playoffs

Mavericks rookie makes incredible NBA postseason history
from Sai Mohan, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

In April of last year, the Mavericks made the call to shut down Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving at the tail end of the season even as they were in contention for a play-in spot. The decision evoked tons of criticism, with reports suggesting that Doncic was unhappy with the organization for pulling the plug.

The Mavs had a certain motive to make the call. They were trying to hold onto their top-10 protected draft pick, which would have transferred to the Knicks had they moved up in the standings.

A year later, Dallas deserves kudos for making that call, as its plan allowed it to draft Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 overall pick (via the Thunder). Lively has been quite the find for the Mavericks, averaging 8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds as a rookie, for which he earned an All-Rookie second-team honor.

Lively’s impact was all the more evident during the Mavericks’ 4-1 rout of the Timberwolves in the Western Conference Finals. The Duke alum was literally perfect throughout the series, converting on all 16 of his field goal attempts. He became the first player in NBA playoffs history to achieve the feat.

Dereck Lively II shot 16/16 FG in the Conference Finals.

That’s the most FGA without a miss in any playoff series in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/NbyIBIDDbG

— StatMamba (@StatMamba) May 31, 2024

In the series-clinching Game 5, Lively finished with nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks, bouncing back with a vengeance after sitting out Game 4 with a neck sprain.

While some may disregard Lively’s field goal percentage as a case of him benefiting from Doncic’s lob passes, it’s a remarkable feat from a 20-year-old rookie. It’s also worth noting that most of his baskets came while he was guarded by Rudy Gobert, the four-time Defensive Player of the Year.

Lively is set to join the list of rookies to play in an NBA Finals, one that includes Magic Johnson, Manu Ginobili, Kevin McHale, Sam Cassell and Tyler Herro.

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