By Nick Neppach

Dennis Smith Jr: Point Guard, N.C. State

  • Height: 6’3” Wingspan: N/A Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Explosiveness, gets to the rim, scoring potential.
  • Doesn’t have great size.
  • Could be a one trick pony. Passing and defense don’t jump out.

Dennis Smith Jr. is a point guard out of N.C. State. And in several mock drafts, he is pinned to the Dallas Mavericks with the 9th overall pick. So if next Thursday’s draft plays out that way, what will the Mavericks be getting?

His calling card is his offensive potential. He is explosive, he attacks the rim and he has what reminds me of a violent attitude on the floor. Smith Jr. was the best player on a bad N.C. State team who’s shining moment was beating Duke at Cameron Indoor this season. A game in which he finished with 32 points, 6 assists, and this dunk after the buzzer that added an exclamation point.

Smith Jr. is at his best when he is attacking the best. He’s skilled at getting to the rim, has good bounce, and can finish. According to Hoop-Math Smith, he finished 64.9% on his attempts at the rim.

In in the GIF above, Smith Jr. attacks right away. No one cuts off the ball, and he takes advantage. This is an area he has potential to excel in.

In the same game against Virginia Tech, Smith gets going in transition … Virginia Tech cuts off the ball … He slows down, then accelerates to the basket with a quick first step, splitting two defenders, and finishes with a dunk.

Smith Jr.’s jump shot has potential. He shot 30.5% from two-point range on jumpers, and 35.8% from distance, according to Hoop-Math. His three-point percentage was significantly higher from the right wing at 43.1% (courtesy of ChartSide).

Smith also has shown the ability to be the alpha dog on the floor. In the GIF above, Smith gets in rhythm, and rises over the defender to hit the dagger three over Georgia Tech.

His shooting, however, does need to become more consistent if he wants to be a proven scorer at the next level. His midrange scoring will also need to develop to keep defenses honest.

At 6’3″, 195 lbs, his size could be a question mark. Add that to being a year removed from a torn ACL in high school, and durability is a possible concern.

The biggest weakness for Dennis Smith Jr. comes on defense. His effort could be described as lacking in his freshman campaign at N.C. State … Not fighting through screens, and looking uninterested and lazy off the ball stand out. Effort is something every team looks for on both sides of the ball. When he is engaged, Smith Jr. has the tools be a defensive pest. We see many players in today’s NBA, despite their smaller height, and lack of length, make an impact on the defensive end of the floor simply because of effort.

All in all, if the Dallas Mavericks take Dennis Smith Jr. 9th overall I believe there’s a fit. With NBA spacing, Smith could have an early impact, especially in the pick and roll. However, Rick Carlisle isn’t the kind of head coach that will put up with standing a player standing around, or watching on defense. Offensively, he could shine brightly. Attacking the basket with an attitude, finding guys for lobs at the basket, and getting out in transition. But if it isn’t there, it won’t really matter. And that it for Smith Jr. starts with an E.