DALLAS, Texas – Point Guard Dennis Smith Jr. was selected by the Dallas Mavericks as the 9th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2017 NBA Draft after his outstanding career at North Carolina State and he has not disappointed.
In his rookie year, he has already earned the number 2 spot as a team stat leader with an average of 14.4 points per game behind Harrison Barnes at 18.1 and in assists with an average of 4 per game behind J.J. Barea at 5.4 per game.
Coach Rick Carlisle called him “ an instant impact guy,” and that is what we have seen from the young athlete on the court in just 23 regular season starts as a Dallas Maverick point guard. He has missed seven games during the regular season due to injuries. In Oct. he missed two games against Sacramento and Houston due to a left knee effusion, meaning there was swelling because of fluid buildup around the joint. In Dec. he has missed the last 5 games due to a hip injury. He is getting treatment for the strain and his teammates remain optimistic.
His absence has not only been missed on the scoreboard but also in the spirit of his teammates on the sidelines and on the court. Smith Jr. plays with a sense of lightheartedness and fun with his dunking play style and motivation of his teammates that comes with the young age of the talented point guard, but he is competitive and calm as well when the situation demands it on the court.
His teammate Wesley Matthews stated, “ He’s receptive. He wants to win. He’s not one of those guys that’s about himself.” The NBA has seen enough of those in recent years, but Dennis Smith Jr. is a team player. His effectiveness does not come solely by his points per game, but by his humble attitude and his work ethic. That is how he has become an “impact player.” Smith Jr. is the type of player that spends two and a-half-hours watching video tutorials and film side by side with coach Rick Carlisle on a flight, instead of sleeping or playing cards with his other teammates. He has a lot to learn coming off his rookie season, but he is making the correct steps has the right mindset to become an asset to this Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Dennis Smith Jr. is on the road to success.
Brianna Dix graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communications. She is a reporter, writer, host, and avid sports fan with a passion for sports.