The Dallas Mavericks are in the midst of an important offseason in regards to the 2023 NBA Draft and NBA free agency. As of right now, the number one priority is figuring out a way to retain Kyrie Irving. Recent reporting has indicated that Irving reached out to LeBron James to gauge the interest of teaming up in Dallas, and this would certainly be one way to keep the polarizing guard. However, this seems unlikely, so the Mavs will have to figure out other options on how to keep Irving alongside Luka Doncic. Besides NBA free agency, the Mavs also have the No. 10 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft that is quickly approaching. A prudent selection would be any player that could help address their rebounding or defensive woes. Still, there are a few prospects who look like they could help on paper, but in reality the Mavs need to avoid. Two prospects in particular that the Mavs need to steer clear from with the No. 10 pick in the NBA Draft are Dereck Lively and Gradey Dick.
Throughout the NBA regular season the Mavs were the worst rebounding team in the NBA. Not only did they struggle on the glass, but opposing teams scored on them at will. In turn, their offensive game had to explode on a nightly basis; they certainly had the ability to put up gaudy numbers with Irving and Doncic, but it was not a sustainable formula for a postseason run. This is supported in the fact that the Mavs missed the 2023 NBA Playoffs after making it to the Western Conference Finals just a year ago. If the Mavs want to prove to Luka Doncic that Dallas is where he belongs, they need to reshape this roster and put themselves back in a position to make a deep playoff run. Keeping Kyrie Irving is one thing, but making the right draft picks is something way more within their control. This also means avoiding making the wrong draft picks, which in the case of the No. 10 overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft, that suggests staying away from Dereck Lively and Gradey Dick.
*Stats via ESPN
Dereck Lively, C, Duke
Dereck Lively is 7'1 and 230 pounds while only being 19-years-old. He figures to be a perfect selection to address the rebounding issues that the Mavs experienced all last season. He will undeniably grow into his body over the next decade, and with his impressive size already, he could easily turn into a very solid rebounder. However, in terms of the Dallas Mavericks, he simply just does not fit.
Despite his size, Lively only averaged 5.4 rebounds per game last year for Duke. He never showed the tenacity that is needed to be a good rebounder in the NBA, pretty much relying on his size to net him some boards. This is not the type of mentality that is needed to find success on the glass in the NBA, and the Mavs are already a team that showed they don't play with the ferocity of a good rebounding team. Not to mention, the Mavs need a big who can not only help them on the glass, but would be able to play a versatile style in the pick-and-roll game with Luka and Kyrie. Lively shot 15.4% from long range last season and only averaged 5.2 points per game. He is on pace to be a very one-track center in the NBA, something the Mavs aren't going to want. He projects to truly be a rebounding big, which would be intriguing for the Mavs to select, but he did not show enough in college to convince the Mavs he could solve their issues on the glass. The Mavs should avoid Lively with the No. 10 selection in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Gradey Dick, F, Kansas
Gradey Dick projects to be a forward that fits more of the style that the Mavericks play with. At 6'8, 205 pounds, he averaged more rebounds than Lively and was much more of a threat to score the ball. Additionally, he shot a very solid 40.3% from the three-point arc. For the Mavs system, he would be a formidable threat alongside Luka and Kyrie. However, he still does not fit the exact mold that the Mavericks need. Dallas needs to target a guy that can play outside and hold his own down low; Lively looks like he will just be able to hold his own down low, while Dick is predominantly going to be a perimeter player.
The most glaring deficiency for Dick that the Mavs need to avoid is his defense. For Dick to become a good defender in the NBA he is going to have to work a lot on his lateral quickness and his anticipation. In general, Dick is going to be an offensive threat over his career; a team that needs more firepower from their forward position should target someone like him. For the Mavs, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft should not be spent on Gradey Dick.