Dallas rookie Dereck Lively II leads the NBA in field goal percentages with 91.7%

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While everyone’s attention has been over No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama at the start of the season, it has actually been Dereck Lively II who has turned heads only two games into the campaign. The Mavericks rookie finds himself exactly where he expects to be all this year, as he’s currently leading the NBA in field goal percentage. 

The 19-year-old has dropped in 11 of his 12 shots from the floor, which means he stands atop of the field goal ladder with an impressive 91.7%. Of course this is only the start of the competition, but it is also impossible to ignore his talent, especially as a rising star needs to find as much encouragement as possible at the beginning of his career.

“The work’s working,” he said at the latest training session in Dallas. “(It’s good) being able to know that I‘m always going to be around the rim, always going to try and finish it no matter if it’s hooks, dump balls, dunks, lobs. “(I’m) just doing whatever it takes to do the dirty work to clean up everything.”

Here’s the complete list of field-goal leading percentages after the first week of the 2023/23 season:

Lively’s debut was impressive as he stood up against none other than San Antonio’ Wembanyama. The youngster shot 7-for-8 from the field and ended his 31-minute performance with 16 points and 10 rebounds coming off the bench. During this weekend’s clash against Brooklyn, he was 4-for-4 in 17 minutes as a starter, adding nine points and two rebounds to his stat line.

After his display went viral, fans all over social media approved of his game entering the NBA season. However, the Mavs big man didn’t realize this until a reporter asked him about the hype ahead of this Monday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“I really try to stay off social media comments, because when they’re going to see me do something well they’re going to praise me, and as soon I do something wrong they’re going to hate me,” Lively II revealed. “I’m going to deal with whatever I need to deal with and that’s my job is to finish plays, and that’s what I can do for sure.”

The young center knows that he’s under the miscroscope and will try his best to not make mistakes. “It’s the biggest stage,” he explained. “It’s a filled arena almost every time you play basketball, so you’ve got to make as little mistakes as possible, you’ve got to be on your edges at all times, (and) you’ve got to be ready for whenever your number is called.”

Lively also showed appreciation for former center Tyson Chandler, who has become his mentor inside the Mavericks squad

One of the main reasons why the 19-year-old seems so comfortable on the NBA courts is his coach and mentor Tyson Chandler, as the ex-big man as helped him anticipated everything that’s been thrown at him in his first weeks as a professional.

“He’s praising me, but he’s also making sure that he’s on every mistake that I possibly can make,” Lively shared. “He’s always trying to teach me what’s the right positioning, what’s the right footwork, what’s the right timing and just being able to just try to do all the little things, because if I see someone going to double one of our main guards I have to be able to flash.”

The rising star only played one season at Duke before taking the leap for the NBA Draft, which eventually took him to becoming the 12th selection in July. As soon as he was chosen, he knew he needed to adapt to the league as soon as possible.

“You’ve got to be ready for everything that they throw at you, because they’re out there and they know what you like to do and they know what you don’t like to do. So, they’re going to try to game plan for you, so you have to anticipate that and be ready for that,” he stated.