Duke basketball standout scores more points in NBA debut than college

Duke basketball center Dereck Lively and guard Kyrie Irving (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Dereck Lively and guard Kyrie Irving (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball standout Dereck Lively made his NBA debut a memorable one. 

It was proven yet again that statistics in college do not necessarily translate to the NBA and former Duke basketball center Dereck Lively II was the latest example.

Lively II battled a calf injury early in his freshman season with the Blue Devils as many awaited the debut of the No. 2 overall recruit in the country, but the nation never got to see the true impact the 7-footer was able to make on the court until late in the season.

The Philadelphia native was one of the best rim protectors in the entire sport as he averaged 5.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game and his potential to succeed at the next level of basketball made him the No. 12 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Lively never scored more than 13 points in a game for Duke last season, although he did reach that number twice, and only scored in double figures five times during his time in Durham so, naturally, in his NBA debut with the Dallas Mavericks he scored 16 points.

ALSO READ: Duke on verge of landing Cooper Flagg

Coming off the bench but still logging 30 minutes of action, Lively made 7-of-8 field goals and 2-of-3 free throws as he also recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds — another feat he did not reach as a Blue Devil.

However, Dereck Lively II’s career-high in college for rebounds in a game was a whopping 14 against North Carolina.

Lively scored 12 of his points in the second half, 10 coming in the third quarter, and also registered an assist, steal, and block in Dallas’ 126-119 victory over the San Antonio Spurs while he led the team with a +20 rating.

Duke basketball players shine throughout San Antonio

The game had former Duke basketball players all over it as Kyrie Irving, beginning his first full season with the Mavericks, had 22 points and six assists in the victory, but Seth Curry did not score while playing just three minutes for the visitors.

ALSO READ: Duke forward Kyle Filipowski named as youngest All-American

Tre Jones did not start as the point guard for the Spurs but did play 25 minutes — the most of any San Antonio player coming off the bench — and shined with 16 points, five rebounds, and six assists on 5-of-7 shooting.

The Dallas Mavericks are expecting to compete at the top of the Western Conference with a star-studded roster and help in the paint from Dereck Lively while the San Antonio Spurs are hoping to steal one of the final playoff spots behind No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama.

Next. Duke players flood comments of Cooper Flagg’s Instagram. dark