When the Mavericks drafted Dennis Smith Jr, Rick Carlisle said he was penciling him in as the starter. When training camp opened, Carlisle repeated that sentiment. Just don’t forget about last year’s rookie starting point guard.
Yogi Ferrell was damn good last year, averaging over 11 points a game and shooting a tad over 40 percent from three in 36 games with Dallas last season, including 29 starts. The duo of Smith and Ferrell started summer league games together this summer to very good results as the Mavs had one of the better offenses in what is supposed to be ugly basketball.
That seems to be carrying over so far in training camp.
Seth Curry said Yogi has been working with the starters.— The Kobe Beef (@TheKobeBeef) September 29, 2017
A couple of caveats: training camp isn’t even a week old, so things are likely to change and the Mavericks haven’t even played their first preseason game yet. Ferrell did start along Smith though on the gray team of the Mavericks open scrimmage on Friday, a lineup that included Smith, Ferrell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki — basically the potential starting lineup without Wesley Matthews, who was nursing a sore ankle.
It was presumed that when Carlisle made his claim that Nerlens Noel could come off the bench, it’d be Smith starting alongside Seth Curry in the backcourt, as the starting lineup with Curry at the two and Dirk at the five boosted the Mavs offense tremendously as they went on a winning run in the second half of last season. So far, it looks like it could be Ferrell in that backcourt instead of Curry.
Both options make sense — Curry would be a great secondary playmaker next to Smith and boosts Curry’s performance as he’s always worked better alongside a more traditional point guard so the playmaking duties don’t all fall on his shoulders. Ferrell makes sense as well, as a sort of safety blanket that can handle the point guard duties and run the sets while Smith is still adapting. With Ferrell next to him, Smith would be freed to play a bit more loose and not have to worry about getting everyone in place, it’d be a nice way to ease him into the NBA.
Either option should work well since both Curry and Ferrell are excellent spot-up shooters, giving Smith more room to work with in the pick and roll and transition. But it’s interesting that so far it’s Ferrell in the lineup, perhaps a reward for the job the undrafted, former 10-day contract holder did the for the Mavs a season ago.