Dallas Mavericks: Give Dennis Smith Jr. Time to Develop
The Dallas Mavericks Summer League team in Las Vegas has been turning heads for a number of different reasons. Dennis Smith Jr. is a big one. But, fans need to slow down on their expectations just a little bit for the 19-year old.
It’s easy to watch Dennis Smith Jr. and see that he has unbelievable potential. In fact, in just two summer league games, questions should already be coming up on how this kid fell to #9 overall. Despite his excellent play, however, Dallas Mavericks fans need to give him a chance to develop just in case this doesn’t directly translate into the regular season.
The fact of the matter is, Junior is only 19 years old. No matter how good you are, every 19-year old is going to have a chance of a slow start. The pace of the game is different, the players are bigger and stronger, the three-point line is further away, and the refs are more biased. It is just a difficult thing to transition from college basketball to the NBA.
Now, don’t get confused, DSJ has been stellar and will continue to be stellar in his summer league play. His skill set is superior to a vast majority of the players in the summer league with him and he has something to prove, so his stat lines are going to be impressive. The point I am trying to make is to not expect these 20-point games every night once the regular season rolls around.
Too many fan bases forget that players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant don’t come around every single draft class. Whether you have the first pick, the ninth pick, or the last pick, there is no guarantee that something good is going to come out of it. And any chance of something good will be lessened if he is expected to excel immediately.
For that reason, we can expect Smith Jr. to be the day 1 starter but I would not expect to see him getting a majority of the point guard minutes too early on. Coach Carlisle is notorious for having little trust in young players, so he will want to give Junior some time to develop before he becomes any sort of focal point for Dallas.
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Mavs faithful need to be patient. There is a definite chance that DSJ will hop out there and be a great starter for the Mavericks right from the get-go. But, if we go into it with expectations too high, there is too much chance for disappointment. And we don’t need any more of that in Dallas.