Dennis Smith Jr. details to the Daily News about his pre-draft meeting with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks.
Prior to the 2017 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks were connected to a plethora of players as they sat at the ninth spot in the draft.
After working out players like Malik Monk and Donovan Mitchell, while also traveling to scout players like Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas knew they would have a player drop to them at nine that could be a cornerstone piece moving forward.
They obviously ended up drafting Dennis Smith Jr. out of N.C. State, but Smith Jr. had his share of pre-draft visits with other teams also.
One of them being Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks.
"“We went out to some restaurant and they had me eat some octopus, like an actual octopus tentacle,” Smith Jr. told the Daily News. “First time ever. I wasn’t going to try it, honestly. They kind of put the pressure on me to do it,” Smith Jr. told Stefan Bondy of the Daily News."
What? An octopus?
We all know that Phil Jackson can be odd at times, but basically forcing a potential draft pick to eat octopus is something new for sure.
Smith Jr. went on throughout the piece to talk with Bondy about his impressive Summer League play and the potential dunk that shook up the Twitter world.
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Towards the end of the publication, Smith Jr. admits that being drafted by New York was definitely a possibility.
"“I definitely thought it was possible,” Smith Jr. told The News. “I flew in there, I had a great meeting with them. Then the draft came and things just changed. But I’m thankful for everything that did happen,” Smith Jr. told Bondy."
Dennis, the fanbase is just as thankful that everything played out the way it did also. Plus, the fact that the Mavericks’ war room erupted in a “thunderous” applause when Smith Jr. was available to be drafted proves the organization is more thankful than anyone.
You can read the Daily News’ full interview with Smith Jr. here.
The Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. connection will always be a comparison, but for now, Dallas seems to have found the next cornerstone of the franchise.