High school phenom Dennis Smith Jr. is an explosive athlete who shows a lot of potential. Coming out of high school, Smith was the number one ranked prospect of his class, going into the NBA it is a bit of a different story. Still ranked in the top 10, Smith has not fallen that far off, but his rank is significantly lower than the beginning of this past season. Most mock drafts have Smith going anywhere from a 6-10 range, compared to the beginning of this year he was projected to go in the top three.
Although he may have dropped off in terms of rankings, he is still a tremendously talented point guard. His biggest strength is his ability to attack the rim and finish with force and grace. Smith can also finish through contact quite well and gets to the line frequently. The fast break is where he executes this the best due to his lightning speed.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) June 14, 2017
In comparison to the top guards in this class, Smith lacks leadership and the decision making skills that his competitors obtain. The N.C State guard must improve in these areas to be a good player in this league. As a point guard these are two of the most important aspects of the position in the NBA, but as a rookie he will need time to improve these skills.
There have also been question marks regarding his three-point shooting, too. Although he has proved countless times this year that he can shoot the three ball, he has also proved how inconsistent his shot is. Smith had 10 games this season where he recorded between 3 to 5 three-pointers, but he also had nine games where he couldn’t land a single attempt from deep. we know that Dennis Smith can knock down the three-point shot, but we don’t know how regularly and that needs to be worked on.
Look for Smith to go either sixth to the Orlando Magic or eighth to the New York Knicks. These two teams are both in need of a point guard, and at their respective picks he will likely be the top one available. If you are a fan of Dennis Smith Jr. then this is not ideal, as these may not be the best fit for him. For his sake it might be best if he goes to the Dallas Mavericks or Minnesota Timberwolves at picks nine and seven respectively. These teams are not in helpless states right now and would be better situations for him to land in as a rookie.
Dennis Smith Jr. apparently had a 48 inch vertical at the Lakers workout 😳
— Hoops Reference (@RTHoopsTalk) June 12, 2017
The 19-year-old may have one of the highest upsides in this draft, but that doesn’t come without risks as he still needs to develop quite a few skills and has a injury history with his ACL. This is why he is ranked between 6-10, because even with all the questions scouts know that he has the potential to be an elite talent without a doubt. Whether or not he will reach this is a very different question, it could all depend on where he lands Thursday, June 22 on draft night. Until then, we can only speculate, we will have to see which GM takes a gamble on Dennis Smith Jr.