With the ninth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks selected Dennis Smith Jr. from North Carolina State. The 19-year-old becomes the highest draft pick for the Mavericks since Dirk Nowitzki, who was also selected ninth in 1998.
During his freshman season with the Wolf Pack, Smith averaged 18 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists. He shot 50.9 percent from the field and 36 percent from behind the arc. We profiled him recently here.
Smith’s pre-draft projections went anywhere from three to nine, so it’s no surprise Smith landed in Dallas. This draft is deep — in any other draft, Smith might have been a top-five pick. Smith’s college career is a mixed bag, however, he was honored as the ACC Rookie of the Year in a conference flooded with talent.
Character concerns seem to haunt Smith, but there’s no denying he’s an electrifying player. Smith will have a chance to thrive in Dallas’ pick-and-roll scheme peppered with shooters...but there’s the possibility he might have a perpetual short leash with no-nonsense Rick Carlisle.
Smith has the skill set to contribute right away, and with a strong culture led by Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki, any character concerns will likely be short lived.
We’ll have much more on Smith in the days to come.