While we wait for Dennis Smith Jr.’s official invite to the dunk contest, this one is official — Smith is in the 2018 NBA Rising Stars game.
The NBA released the rosters on Wednesday and Smith is locked in, playing on the U.S. Team. His teammates include fellow 2017 draft lottery classmates Ben Simmons, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell. The game will be the day before the dunk and three-point contests on Feb. 16 during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Smith is averaging 14.8 points, 4.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game as the Mavs starting point guard. As most rookies typically crash into the rookie wall around this time of the year, Smith is better than ever — averaging 17.9 points this month, including over 20 in the last four games.
You’d think this would be the first Maverick in the Rising Stars game in some time, but surprise! Dwight Powell played in the game as a second-year player back in the 2015-2016 season. Before that, however, there was quite the lull. Devin Harris played in the game in back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006 and Josh Howard also played in back-to-back years in 2004 and 2005.
Holy crap, the Mavericks had two players in the Rising Stars game in the middle of Dirk’s prime! Suck it draft haters (please do not look up the Mavs’ draft history). Hopefully this is just the first of many accolades in Smith’s promising career.