Since his first steps in the Dallas Mavericks jersey, Dereck Lively never ceases to amaze. The fact that he spent his only college year at Duke was a pretty solid guarantee of the boy’s talent, but he still had to be able to show it and be useful to a team as ambitious as the Mavs. In the regular season, Lively was excellent, both statistically (almost 9 points, 7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game) and in behavior, whether he is starting or coming off the bench and even though an injury limited him to 55 matches. In the playoffs, the young interior proved to be downright decisive.

Last night, during game 6 against Oklahoma City, his contribution was decisive and Dallas would undoubtedly have been forced to play a game 7 without him. Derek Lively played 30 minutes, compiling 12 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block, which is already strong. But the most impressive thing is undoubtedly its +/- differential. The 12th pick of the 2024 Draft displays a rather staggering +26 in a match which was played to one point… At the end of the match in particular, “D-Live”, as Luka Doncic nicknames him, multiplied the big rebounds offensive and power moves, particularly in front of Chet Holmgren. His boundless energy, to which must be added a real intelligence of the game, is contagious and everyone within the Mavs is aware of the impact of the rookie.

“We don’t win this series without D-Live,” Doncic said after the match on ESPN. “He played incredible. He’s a rookie but he’s not afraid. The way he plays basketball is incredible.”

As for Jason Kidd, who has trusted him since the first day of training camp, we went straight into the flattering comparison.

“I think he did a very good imitation of Moses Malone by grabbing all the rebounds he could,” joked the Dallas coach.

A record of precocity, in the name of his mother

Derek Lively also became the youngest player in NBA history to compile at least 10 points and 15 rebounds in a playoff game, at 20 years and 96 days old. He is now ahead of Michael Beasley, Magic Johnson and Dwight Howard. We wish him as much success in the league as the last two. With his maturity, we don’t worry too much about him. In recent months, the person concerned has also displayed quite incredible mental strength. Already deprived of his father, who died when he was a teenager, Lively lost his mother a few weeks ago following an illness. However, his discipline and his desire to help the Mavs at all costs to return to the Conference final dominated.

On his Instagram account, however, we could read a few minutes after the end of game 6: “I love you Mom. I miss you. Sit back and watch.” From up there, Kathy Drysdale, who passed on her passion for basketball to her son – she played at Penn State – can be proud and it’s probably not over.

2024-05-19 05:54:50
#Derek #Lively #praise #youth

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