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#pounditSunday, April 21, 2024

Mavericks could have 1 surprising starter next season?

Jason Kidd coaches from the sideline

Mar 16, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd coaches against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kidd may have a trick up his sleeve for the coming season.

Speaking this weekend with Marc Stein on 97.1 The Freak in Dallas-Fort Worth, the Dallas Mavericks coach Kidd said that rookie big man Dereck Lively II could potentially start for the team in the 2023-24 campaign.

“It’s up for grabs,” said Kidd of Dallas’ starting center position, per Grant Afseth of Dallas Basketball. “I’ll start Lively with the big group [in training camp] and see how that goes.”

The former Duke center Lively was the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder and had his rights acquired by Dallas in a trade. Though he is only 19 years old, Lively is 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-7 wingspan. He plays above the basket and also has the potential to be an upper-tier NBA rim protector some day.

With Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving at the controls, it is important for the Mavs to have a starting center who can vertically space the floor on offense and anchor the paint on defense. Lively, while still raw, can be that guy and figures to get a real shot to compete for the starting 5 job with Dwight Powell and the newly-acquired Richaun Holmes. It helps as well that Lively already has a major endorsement from a former Mavs champion.

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