Dereck Lively II Draft Profile

by Max Brandt


Lively, who entered college with high expectations after being ranked as the top player in his high school class, possesses remarkable athleticism and size, making him a highly coveted prospect. His defensive potential is particularly noteworthy, with the ability to become one of the most impactful defenders in the NBA.

As a smooth and agile center, Lively excels as a lob threat and effective rim runner, showcasing his versatility in the modern NBA. He has also expanded his game by developing a reliable outside shot, although there is room for improvement. His presence on the perimeter forces defenses to respect his shooting ability.

In terms of offense, Lively is a strong finisher around the rim, demonstrating excellent touch and ambidexterity. While he may not be a primary offensive option, he contributes as a complementary piece to a team's offensive scheme.

However, Lively's assertiveness on the offensive end was a question mark during his time at Duke. There is a desire to see him become more dominant on both ends of the court. On the defensive side, his 7-foot frame makes him an exceptional rim protector, showcasing natural instincts for shot-blocking. Yet, he needs to gain strength to handle matchups against physically imposing centers.

Conversely, Lively excels in defending perimeter players, a rarity for a center of his size. His ability to guard outside the paint allows for seamless defensive switches.

During his freshman season at Duke, Lively played alongside fellow first-round talent Kyle Filipowski, resulting in intriguing insights for his long-term potential. He was also part of the 2022 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team that triumphed over the World Select Team and earned recognition as the 2022 Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys Basketball Player of the Year. His basketball background, including his mother's experience as a player and coach, contributes to his high basketball IQ.

Despite any underwhelming performances, Lively's age and defensive upside make him a likely first-round selection. Teams may view him as a project with significant long-term potential that could yield substantial rewards.



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