Today we’ll evaluate the career of a player who had so much potential, but may have turned out to be a bust. He was compared to some great point guard’s such as Derrick Rose and Damian Lillard. The Mavs and Knicks took part in a big trade, trading one of their best players, for a potential great player, which they will probably will end up regretting. Today’s topic is “The Rise and Fall of Dennis Smith Jr.”
Dennis Smith Jr. was born on November 25th, 1997 and attended Trinity Christian School in North Carolina. His freshman year he played varsity, but came off the bench. He averaged 9.2 points and 3.0 assists per game. His sophomore year, he led his team to a state championship, and in the final game he scored 21 points and earned MVP. He averaged 17.6 points, 9.3 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 steals this season. Going into his junior year, he competed against future NBA players such as Jamal Murray and Thon Maker who played on Orangeville Prep. He averaged 22.2 points, 5.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds this season. He earned the Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year award for North Carolina. Going into his senior year, he tore his ACL while playing in an AAU tournament. He missed the whole season, but was still a top recruit in the 2016 class. He committed to play at NC State University.
Dennis decided to graduate early from high school, so he enrolled into NC State in the spring semester. He rehabbed his knee and started taking classes in January 2016. He was ready for his freshman season and he recorded a career high 30 points. He earned Rookie of the Year for the ACC, Second All-ACC, and ACC All-Freshman team. After his freshman season, he averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Smith decided to play his cards and declare for the 2017 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft/Rookie Season:
Dennis Smith Jr. was picked ninth overall by the Dallas Mavs. He missed part of summer league play, but made it back in time for the Las Vegas summer league. He earned first-team honors from the summer league, and in six games he played he averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals.
In his rookie debut, he earned a double-double scoring 16 points and 10 assists. He became the fifth youngest player, at 20 years old and 34 days, to have a triple-double. After the season, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
Going into the 2018-2019 season, Smith was traded to the Knicks mid season. This season he averaged 14.7 points and 5.4 assists. In the 2019-2020 season, Smith onls played in 34 games and averaged 5.5 points and 2.9 assists. Let’s not forget that he participated in the 2018 and 2019 Slam Dunk competition as well, and although he didn’t win, he reminded the crowd how explosive he really is.
So did Dennis move a little too fast getting to the NBA? Is he a bust? Remember he’s only 6’2 and a very undersized point guard in the NBA, but his vertical is something crazy.. Should Dallas have kept their rookie point guard just a little longer? What’s your opinion?
Will he prove critics otherwise and step up his game in the next season? We’ll have to wait and find out.