Dereck Lively II of Duke basketball was chosen by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draught.
The Thunder selected Lively with the No. 12 overall selection after trading it to the Dallas Mavericks. In 11 of the last 12 years, at least one first-round pick has come from the Blue Devils. One of Duke’s players has been chosen in 24 of the last 26 draughts.
In his first season for the Blue Devils, the 7-foot-1, 230-pound centre blossomed as one of the best defensive players in the nation. He was an All-ACC defenseman and a member of the All-Freshman team for the conference.
For the Blue Devils, Lively had 82 blocks in 34 games, including multiple blocks in 24 of those games. Here are some more contributions Lively makes to an NBA squad in addition to his shot-blocking skills.
Lively’s physical attributes, namely his 7-foot-1 stature and 7-foot-6 wingspan, make him a valuable addition to any team in need of a stronger frontcourt presence. Lively was perhaps the most outstanding defender in college basketball by the conclusion of his one season at Duke. He is a good defender due to his lateral agility and rim-protecting skills. He will be able to support his defensive strength with offence because to his enthusiasm as a rim runner and rebounder. Additionally, he has good shooting mechanics. The potential for a star exists.
His debut at Duke was hampered by a preseason calf injury, and his wiry build might make him a target for larger opponents early in the league. His offence is limited at this point in his career and he sometimes suffered with foul trouble, but the building blocks are there for improvement. It seems that at Duke, he was just beginning to reach his full potential.
Lively has the potential to contribute right away as an NBA defender. Lively will have chances to play because of his enthusiasm as a rim runner and rebounder. If Lively develops his attacking repertoire, he has the potential to be a potent weapon. We could reflect on him in the future and wonder why he wasn’t selected earlier.