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3 things as Mavs win Dennis Smith, Jr.’s Summer League debut over Bulls, 91-75

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The Dallas Mavericks continue to be unbeaten in Summer League

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Dallas Mavericks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After being crowned Orlando Summer League Champions, the Dallas Mavericks kicked off the Las Vegas Summer League with another win, this time running away from the Bulls (see what I did there?) to the tune of 91-75.

Dennis makes his debut

The Dallas Mavericks’ first round draft pick of just a few weeks ago, Dennis Smith, Jr. made his professional debut Saturday afternoon and acquitted himself nicely. He scored 14 points in 25 minutes, also handing out 6 assists and grabbing 7 rebounds. His assist totals would have been higher had the team not missed so many open shots in the first half.

The streaky shooting Smith didn’t have the three ball working (1-6 from downtown, the one make coming on a difficult pull-up that was well-defended), but showed off his athletic ability — and not just by wowing the crowd with highlight dunks during warmups — and underrated vision. The Summer League Bulls were double-teaming him early and often out of the pick and roll, but Smith still found several openings for nice drive and finishes.

Yogimania not done yet

The “other” point guard in Dallas’ starting lineup, Yogi Ferrell, clearly still thinks he deserves minutes for the Mavericks next season, highly touted rookie draft pick or not.

Yogi had 14 points as well, hitting all three of his triples, and just generally looked like he was better than most of the rest of the guys on the floor. If Yogi keeps hitting threes, he will get plenty of burn for Rick Carlisle.

Brandon Ashley makes the most of his fill-in start

The rest of the starting lineup was Dorian Finney-Smith, Nicolas Brussino, and Brandon Ashley. Ashley was added to the Mavs Summer League roster yesterday after A.J. Hammons was traded to the Miami Heat, and all he did was lead all scorers with 21 points. He was the beneficiary of a lot of the Bulls attempts to trap Smith, as he got several wiiiide open looks, but he took advantage, knocking down a pair of threes and rim-running when the opportunity was there.

Other notable performers:

  • Nicolas Brussino hit a pair of threes and scored 9 points in 15 minutes. He started and was letting it fly early on, clearly not lacking for confidence. Maybe his nicest play of the night came on a nice pocket pass to Brandon Ashley for a dunk. Brussino’s shoot-pass skillset in a 6’8 wing make him an interesting developmental piece for Dallas. Though he originates from the strong NBA pipeline in Argentina, Nylon Calculus found that the quality of league there is equivalent to the Sun Belt Conference, home to college powerhouses like South Alabama and Arkansas State. So despite Brussino’s professional experience, this is still a good test for him in terms of competition level.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith rounds out the starters, and Doe-Doe went 1-8 from the field, scoring almost all of his 8 points at the free throw line. We saw a new-looking shooting form, where he seems to lean in as he releases, and the results weren’t too good Saturday, as he missed all four of his threes. This is the place to work on this stuff, though, so expect to see Finney-Smith keep uncorking those shots.
  • Fresh off the game-winner in the Orlando Summer League Championship, Jonathan Motley moved up to the Vegas division, but didn’t have his strongest performance. He missed a few chippies inside, and looked like he was forcing the action at times, rather than keeping the ball moving. He also banged knees at one point and stayed down for a moment after, which was concerning. It appeared that he was OK afterwards, but that will be worth keeping an eye on.

Dallas is back in action tomorrow against Phoenix, once again at 4:30 Eastern Time, 3:30 Central. Check back for more reaction and analysis!