NBA Draft: Duke's Lively taken No. 12 overall by Thunder, traded to Mavs; Whitehead goes 22nd

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Friday, June 23, 2023
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The Charlotte Hornets are expected to take guard Scoot Henderson or forward Brandon Miller with the No. 2 overall pick.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A pair of Duke standouts heard their names called in the first 22 picks of the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night -- one as a lottery pick.

With the selections, Duke extended its streak of at least one freshman drafted to 10 consecutive years.

Blue Devils' big man Dereck Lively II had been projected as a lottery pick by some but maybe not by others. In the end, he was.

The 7-1, 230-pound Philadelphia native showed notable improvement as Duke's season progressed and played a major role down the stretch defensively in helping the Blue Devils to the ACC title.

Duke's Dereck Lively II could hear his name called in the top 10 picks.
Ben McKeown

Lively didn't have to wait too long -- he was taken No. 12 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder, but minutes later he was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks in a trade deal.

"I definitely feel like I can make it happen. I feel like I can definitely see myself having a great time in Dallas and being a great fit," Lively said. "I was just on the phone with (Dallas owner Mark Cuban) less than two minutes ago. He was just saying, 'Congratulations and we're just excited to have you and we're excited to start,' which is exactly the same exact feeling I'm feeling."

Questions remain about his offensive polish, but given his size and ability to influence the game with rebounding and shot-blocking, Lively should be an asset to the Mavs and Luka Doncic

"I'm just excited to hit the ground running and show everybody what I can do," Lively said.

The debate about his Duke teammate Dariq Whitehead was a fascinating one. The one-and-done Duke guard battled multiple injuries early in the season but flashed signs of being a powerful driver and athletic scorer. He was taken No. 22 overall by the Brooklyn Nets, who seemingly had no qualms about his health.

Duke's Dariq Whitehead is expected to be a first-round pick.
Ben McKeown

The 6-7, 220-pounder from Newark, New Jersey will be close to home, making it an even better fit.

Whitehead is the fourth Blue Devil to be drafted by the Nets franchise, joining Mason Plumlee (22nd overall in 2017), Mike Gminski (7th overall in 1980) and Mark Crow (111th pick in 1977)


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