With the ninth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks select Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State
Player: Dennis Smith Jr. is perhaps the quintessential boom-or-bust prospect in the NBA Draft this year. A hyper-athletic point guard, Smith can explode to the rim like few others and finish even among traffic. He can stroke the ball as well, scoring from all three levels. Defensively Smith ran hot and cold, but when he was dialed in he harried opposing guards up and down the court and generated a number of steals. The issue with Smith are the intangibles; he joined an NC State team with a solid amount of talent and they completely fell apart. The concern is that despite his physical tools he doesn’t have the temperament to be a true star.
Fit: Dallas has solid but unexceptional players at SG (Wesley Matthews), SF (Harrison Barnes), PF (Dirk Nowitzki at the end of his career), and C (Nerlens Noel). They needed a talent upgrade at the point to start in front of Yogi Ferrell, and Dennis Smith is the perfect fit. His explosive athleticism will lead to devastating pick-and-rolls, pairing with either Dirk in a pick-and-pop or sprinting alongside Nerlens Noel as they attack the rim. Shooting is always a must in Rick Carlisle’s offense, and Smith brings that as well. Character concerns exist but at nine are absolutely worth it.