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#pounditFriday, February 23, 2024

Ex-Mavericks champion excited about team’s first-round draft pick

Dereck Lively looking straight

May 17, 2023; Chicago, Il, USA; Dereck Lively II talks to the mediaduring the 2023 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Tyson Chandler spent just one season with the Dallas Mavericks. It ended with him celebrating at the 2011 championship parade alongside Dirk Nowitzki.

It’s almost impossible to replicate that level of success upon arrival. Nobody’s expecting the same thing from Mavs’ incoming rookie Dereck Lively II, but there’s a pathway in which he can turn into a clone of the former Defensive Player of the Year. Chandler himself sees it too, the big man shared while speaking to reporter Eddie Sefko.

“I’m looking at myself all over again,” Chandler said during a summer league workout on Thursday. “It’s crazy, to be honest. Seeing him and remembering where I was at that time. He has everything in front of him.”

Chandler was brought on as an assistant coach for the Mavs’ summer league team, in no small part to mentor Lively. Both players entered the league as 19-year-olds with a lot to learn about the NBA game. With the two sharing similar physical profiles and defensive instincts at an early age, Chandler was a no-brainer selection to coach up the Duke product.

“I want him to be better than me,” Chandler said. “I’m trying to teach him things that I learned later at different points of my career, trying to shorten his (learning) curve.”

Lively turning into Chandler 2.0 would be the best-case scenario for the Mavs. Finding an elite shot-blocker and rim-runner to pair with Luka Doncic could potentially take their team to the next level.

The Mavs have tried — and failed — to find success with similar veterans such as Christian Wood, JaVale McGee, and Willie Cauley-Stein over the past couple of years. Perhaps molding a big man from scratch will work out better for Dallas.


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