"Better than Wemby already" - Mavericks fans hyped after Dereck Lively II swishes between-the-legs step-back 3 ahead of Game 5

Mavericks fans hyped after Dereck Lively II swishes between-the-legs step-back 3 ahead of Game 5
Mavericks fans hyped after Dereck Lively II swishes between-the-legs step-back 3 ahead of Game 5

After recently converting his first career 3-pointer, Dallas Mavericks rookie center Dereck Lively II continues working on his outside shot. Ahead of Monday's Game 5 NBA Finals clash against the Boston Celtics, he showcased his off-the-dribble shooting ability, earning high praise from Mavericks fans.

Lively finished Friday's 122-84 blowout Game 4 home win over Boston with 11 points and 12 rebounds on 4-for-5 (80.0%) shooting. In doing so, he became the first rookie since LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson in 1980 to record consecutive finals double-doubles. However, perhaps more surprisingly, one of his four made field goals was a corner 3-pointer.

After catching a feed from superstar teammate Luka Doncic with the shot clock winding down midway through the first quarter, Lively didn't hesitate to fire. He swished the shot, marking his first made 3 on three attempts through 75 regular-season and playoff games.

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On Sunday, Mavericks reporter Grant Afseth posted a series of clips of Lively continuing to practice long-range shots. The 7-foot-1 big man displayed the ability to knock down an array of difficult jumpers, including pull-ups and step-backs. However, his between-the-legs step-back 3, in particular, caught fans' attention on X/Twitter.

Many remarked about the 20-year-old having a chance to drastically raise his ceiling if he starts spacing the floor consistently.

"Man, that guy's upside is scary if he adds a decent handle with a pull-up 3," @dha_pharaoh said.
"If he consistently adds this to his game, even at like [a] mid-to-high-30s [3-point percentage], [it] will completely change the dynamic of the team. He continues to prove to be a complete and utter steal of a pick," @VikingAesir said.
"Oh, baby, don’t let our guy get comfortable shooting 3s," @1dudevibin said.

Meanwhile, several others quipped about Dereck Lively II threatening to surpass this year's Rookie of the Year, San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama.

"Better than Wemby already," @oSladester said.
"Wemby come outside," @MavsLad said.
"Wemby at home:" @amongusgriddy said.

Also Read: "Ended up becoming the little big brother": Dereck Lively II gets candid about his relationship with Mavs coach Tyson Chandler

Dereck Lively II dedicates first 3-pointer to late mother

After connecting on his first 3-pointer on Friday, Dereck Lively II dedicated it to his late mother, Kathy Drysdale. Lively's mother, who was his biggest supporter, died of cancer in April after an extensive battle.

According to the 2023 No. 12 draft pick, he plans to continue scoring from long distance to honor her.

"It's for her. She helped me make it. She's gonna help me make a lot more," Lively said.

Lively also touched on how Luka Doncic's support motivated him to continue extending his range.

"I'm just thankful for having Luka pass me the ball in that position. I'm happy I knocked it down, just gotta be able to make the next one," Lively said. "If they leave me open in the corner, I'm gonna get them up for sure. It's just having that trust.
"Luka gave me the ball, as soon as I shot it, he was jumping for joy when it went in. Just having that reaction from my teammates is amazing. Just makes me want to learn, makes me want to practice and do more."

Dereck Lively II made a name for himself as a rebounder, lob threat and rim protector this season. Over 55 regular-season contests, he averaged 8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game on 74.7% shooting. His strong season earned him an All-Rookie second-team selection.

He has since maintained his production in the postseason, averaging 8.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 1.0 bpg on 67.7% shooting through 20 outings. Already viewed by many as the Mavericks' starting center of the future, Lively developing a reliable 3-point shot would likely add another wrinkle to the team's high-octane offense.

He will look to continue his standout play in Game 5 as Dallas, trailing Boston 3-1, attempts to stave off elimination at TD Garden.

Also Read: "Just please don't do that"- Dereck Lively II warned Luka Doncic against engaging with refs

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Edited by Tristan Rawcliffe
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