Going into the draft, there were a handful of players we thought the Mavericks wanted, depending on how the draft played out. Frank Ntilikina seemed like a total Mavericks draft pick from the beginning. Then we thought Dallas might be trading up for a chance at Jonathan Isaac. But after the Mavericks selected Dennis Smith Jr., Rick Carlisle and Donnie Nelson told us otherwise: this is the player they wanted all along.
Whether because of his skill set, fit or upside, most NBA experts graded the Mavs’ selection positively and seem to agree that the Mavericks and Dennis Smith Jr. could be a match made in heaven.
Here’s what the major outlets had to say:
CBS Sports: B
Risky pick, huge upside. Most explosive player in draft. Inconsistent. Fifth point guard taken! Grade: B
Dallas has been in search of a franchise point guard for a long time, and hopes Smith will be that. He’s an explosive athlete and talented scorer who can make plays off the dribble and comes with a ton of upside. This is great value for the Mavericks, who gain a legitimate long-term asset as they continue to prepare for the post-Dirk era. In a weaker draft, Smith might have been a top-five talent.
Fox Sports: B
DSJ and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle could end up butting heads, but I love this pick for Dallas. Smith is better than his performance at N.C. State last year would indicate. Grade: B
USA Today: A
There's an argument that Smith is the best "true" point guard in this draft, which is saying something given the top two picks. He's a fierce competitor, excellent athlete and good fit for an NBA dominated by the pick-and-roll game. Questions about his efficiency and headstrong attitude persisted and caused him to slip a little, but at No. 9, for a team that needs a point guard, this is a great fit
Yogi Ferrell was a nice surprise for the Dallas Mavericks last season, but they couldn't pass on a higher-ceiling 1 in Dennis Smith here.
The explosive scoring guard, who reportedly had a 48-inch vertical during the predraft process, gives Dallas a long-term option at point guard who can grow alongside Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel (assuming he's re-signed).
SB Nation: A
The Mavs earn a solid grade for two reasons. The first is that Smith looks legit; he’s the most exciting young guard Dallas has had since Yogi Ferrell wait Seth Curry hold on Jeremy Lin I mean Rodrigue “The Untouchable” Beaubois.
The second is that the Mavs kept this pick so close to the vest that ESPN’s live broadcast closed to within five minutes of the Twitter leakers (Shams Charania, in this case). Well done!
At this point, it’s impossible to know if Smith will become the player everyone seems to think he can be. It is clear, though, that the front office did its homework and maximized both the value and fit by selecting Smith with the ninth pick.
Is it time for Summer League yet?