I was wrong about Dereck Lively II, and I couldn’t be happier

At about 5:32 PM EST, my mentions on X (formerly Twitter) blew up. This was unexpected, since I rarely tweet these days and I’m not exactly a popular tweeter. I give my opinions and they, even though they may be reactionary at times, are true to how I see the game of basketball. I wasn’t a fan of the Mavericks drafting Dereck Lively II as high as they did. The trade for Kyrie Irving put the team in a win-now mode and I felt like a starting big man wouldn’t be able to contribute to winning basketball in a meaningful way. I assumed Kidd would prioritize winning and short-term goals over developing a young big man who would undoubtedly take some bumps and bruises. I assumed Kidd would start Dwight Powell and that Lively would definitely be in the rotation, but not as a starter.

My overall opinion of Lively wasn’t about who he was as a player. Historically, Point Guard and Center have been the two most difficult positions to get used to as a rookie. Both positions require a certain level of basketball IQ and your raw talent and skills can only take you so far. Scoot Henderson, for example, is going through some of those early struggles. There are countless other examples of rookie Point Guards and Centers struggling in their first season. That’s why I felt the team was better off drafting a wing with upside, due to positional scarcity and that player’s ability to make an immediate impact.

Derreck Lively has broken all trends and is the rare exception to the rule. His impact on the pitch was evident early on and he helped transform us as a team. Offensively, his chemistry with Luka as a rim runner makes him a threat every time he is on the floor. Defensively, his ability to read the play and provide credible rim protection increased our defensive floor. He didn’t bring up Dwight Powell again because the organization gave him minutes and wanted their investment to pay off. He earned his role through hard work and consistent play. Now that I’ve explained my thoughts at the time, let’s get back to how this occurred to me on this sunny afternoon.

In October, a Mavs fan (@jazzlynn626) sang Dereck Lively’s praises.

I told her that if Lively averaged more minutes than Dwight Powell, I would buy her the jersey of her choice.

To say I have forgotten this is an understatement. I clicked on her profile todayI wanted to make sure the tweet was valid, and to my dismay, it was. I’m passionate about sports, and exponential when it comes to the teams I love.

In retrospect, I said something very stupid, even if I stick to my logic, and I learned at a very young age that a man pays his debts. I promised @Jazzlynn626 that I would buy her the sweater of her choice and I did. As you can see from the post, I have never been happier when I was wrong. Dereck Lively II is incredible and will be a huge part of this team for many years to come.