Duke center Dereck Lively II announced on Tuesday that he is declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft after serving as a defensive stopper in his lone season of college basketball. At 7-foot-1, Lively led all freshmen nationally in blocks per game at 2.4 despite averaging just 20.6 minutes per game while playing on a roster that featured another towering freshman phenom in Kyle Filipowski.
Lively entered Duke as the No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports, and was the highest-ranked member of the Blue Devils’ top-ranked recruiting class under first-year coach Jon Scheyer. Though he struggled to carve out much of a scoring role, he rated as Duke’s most efficient overall player, according to evanmiya.com.
“I love Duke, I love everyone here,” he said announcing his decision. “This has been an amazing experience for me. I will be entering my name into the 2023 NBA Draft.”
The Blue Devils improved as the season progressed with Lively playing an increased role over the final six weeks. Though he reached double figures in scoring just five times, Lively was nonetheless efficient offensively, shooting 65.8% from the floor. He also yanked down 2.1 offensive rebounds per game. In a Feb. 4 win over North Carolina, Lively showcased his skill set with eight blocks and 14 rebounds. Though he scored just four points in the victory, the performance showed how impactful Lively can be in other ways.
Dereck Lively’s NBA Draft projection
Lively ranks No. 22 in the 2023 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings from CBS Sports. He landed at No. 21 in a recent mock draft from Kyle Boone and at No. 28 in Gary Parrish’s most recent mock draft.
“The 7-foot center isn’t a modern big, but his ability to alter shots and catch lobs at the rim is still valuable,” Parrish wrote.
Lively can be a rim protector early in his NBA career. With such a long frame and natural shot-blocking instincts, his defense should translate early. He will need to develop in pick-and-roll switch situations to prove he can stay in front of quicker players on the perimeter, but has the tools to be fine in that area over time. Offensively, he’s an obvious lob threat around the rim, as evidenced by his efficient marks in limited usage on that end for the Blue Devils. Lively showed a willingness to step out and shoot 3-pointers for Duke but made just 2 of 13 during his lone season on campus. But for a team with the willingness to treat Lively as a long-term project, all the tools are there for him to become a productive NBA starter.
Impact on Duke
Duke has another stacked recruiting class on the way, headlined by five top-20 players from the Class of 2023. However, none have the shot-blocking chops of Lively. While Scheyer could still snag a proven rim protector from the transfer portal, it’s more likely that Duke falls short of the 4.9 blocked shots per game that it averaged as a team during conference play in 2022-23. That figure was first in the ACC during league games and will be hard to replicate without Lively.
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Publish Date:2023-04-05 02:24:27