Last year at this time Dennis Smith Jr. was experiencing media day as a Freshman at NC State. Yesterday he experienced it as a rookie in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs took Smith Jr. with the 9th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft this summer, and according to head coach Rick Carlisle, his plan remains to start him at point guard from Day 1.
“I understand the level of excitement, and people should be excited. You know, this kid is going to show really some amazing things that we haven’t seen at the point guard position ever with this franchise. That said, this is a learning process,” Carlisle said Monday while addressing the Dallas media. “On Draft Night I projected him as a starter, and my plan at this point is going to be to start him. And so, you know, that’s a lot of responsibility, but he needs to learn quickly. The best way for a guy like him to learn quickly is to be thrown out there and be put in a position to have to do it. He’s a competitor and he’s a prideful kid, and he’s serious about this.” (Mavs)
Dirk Nowitzki, the greatest player to ever play in a Mavericks Jersey, and a for sure future Hall of Famer, has only seen Dennis play for a couple of weeks now, but he has seen enough to believe that he could be a ‘cornerstone’ for the Mavs to build their team around for years to come.
“I’ve seen Dennis now the last few weeks scrimmaging a little bit in the gym, and I’ve rarely seen an athlete like this at the point guard spot,” Nowitzki proclaimed. “He’s just freakish when he goes down the lane and how easy he goes. You know, he just pushes off his calves a little bit, and next thing you know he’s at the rim. He’s just really quick, really explosive, and he’s actually a decent passer. He’s a good decision maker already at that age, so I think he’s going to be hopefully a cornerstone for our franchise for a long, long time. He’s going to be fun to play with and he’s going to be fun to watch for our fans for a long, long time. But you know, as I always say, rookie years sometimes are tough. You’re going through stretches were the games just keep coming, and at times you may seem overwhelmed. You’ve just got to fight through those times. And if he does, the sky is the limit. I mean, he’s explosive and he’s got all the tools, so I’m looking forward to him hopefully having a long, long career here.” (Mavs)
Harrison Barnes on Dennis Smith Jr.: “He’ll dunk on you. Nerlens experienced that in the pickup games.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 25, 2017
Dirk Nowitzki says he asked the trainers how many calf raises he has to do to dunk like Dennis Smith Jr. The answer was “not enough.”
— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) September 25, 2017
Check out DSJ on the mic at his first NBA Media Day as a Maverick: