The Mavericks continued their hot summer league play, remaining undefeated in both the Orlando Summer League and Las Vegas Summer League. Dallas jumped out to a huge lead, but the Phoenix Suns managed to trim the lead and make it somewhat close down the stretch, before the Mavericks ultimately pulled away.
Dennis Smith, Jr. continues to impress
Smith was aggressive early, attacking the rim and finishing around contact. He was in the paint whenever he wanted to, especially when bigs switched on him. After a poor shooting performance Saturday, Smith seemed to have his feet under him going 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of 5 from three today. Smith was also aggressive getting to the line earning nine free throw attempts. Smith threw up a cool 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and one monster block in his second summer league game.
It was fun to watch a much more comfortable and confident Smith play. There were a few dunk attempts where Smith intended to absolutely embarrass the defender trying to block his shot. He hasn’t connected on a jaw-dropping hammer yet, but it’s coming soon.
However, Smith struggled to take care of the ball compared to Saturday. His five turnovers aren’t concerning, yet. It will definitely be something to watch as he gets more comfortable and tries to do a little more, though.
The national broadcast team of Mike Breen and Seth Greenberg gushed over Smith all game. They mentioned how physically mature Smith is, how confident he is, and how his overall presence on the court screams “day one contributor.” Mark Cuban spoke with Breen and Greenberg and mentioned how Smith was a true point guard, and this game continued to prove that. He seems to understand when to look for other players on the break and when to score it himself. His vision has been superb, seemingly finding the open player when his penetration gets cut off.
To put it simply, Smith is going to be good.
Dorian Finney-Smith’s impact is everywhere but scoring
Finney-Smith’s shooting woes continued as he went 1-of-9 from the field and 0-5 from three. His shooting is a glaring weakness that will continue to be exposed, but man, is he an active and disruptive player elsewhere.
He rebounded the ball well, snatching nine rebounds including 3 offensive rebounds. It’s been fun to see DFS grab a board and push the ball himself, igniting the break. And summer league is the perfect place for him to continue to do that. He also had a highlight reel block on Marquese Chriss where he soared from behind to break up the dunk. DFS pestered fourth pick Josh Jackson when matched up on him and was a big reason Jackson didn’t get going until the second half.
The Ding Yanyuhang summer league legend grows
I will be the first to admit I was puzzled as to why the Las Vegas crowd is so enamored with Ding, but it’s beginning to make a bit more sense. Ding plays extremely hard every minute he’s on the floor. He has the look of a small ball four who can stretch the floor, handle the ball and still battle on the boards.
He finished the game with eight points and four rebounds and every play made by Ding was met with a raucous applause. The fact that Nico Brussino didn’t make much more of an impact than Ding in seven more minutes says a lot. Ding is unlikely to make the 15-man roster this year, but if he keeps up his play, he should get an invite to training camp.
Other game notes:
- The Mavericks as a whole were impressive all game. They moved the ball well, pushed it and were active on defense all game. It says a lot when Yogi Ferrell (remember his story?) is diving for every loose ball. The Maverick defense hounded the Suns all afternoon causing them to shoot 35 percent with 24 turnovers
- Josh Adams started the game out hot, scoring all seven of his points in the first quarter. He and Smith were two of the big reasons Dallas jumped out to a lead. For some reason he didn’t play much in the second half, but his remaining summer league games will be something to monitor.
- Brandon Ashley was in foul trouble early, limiting his playing time. Ashley finished with 12 points and two rebounds, but the key takeaway was what Cuban said to Breen and Greenberg. Cuban mentioned that Ashley has a “good chance” to make the team this season. Ashley will need to finish summer league strong and follow that up with a good training camp, but we might officially be on Salah Mejri watch.