People have compared the games of Dennis Smith Jr. and John Wall, but how similar could their rookie seasons look?
With the first pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards took the athletic point guard out of the University of Kentucky by the name of John Wall.
Wall, armed with explosiveness and athleticism, was an instant must-watch for the NBA as he came into a Wizards team with Gilbert Arenas on his way out.
Dennis Smith Jr. was the 9th overall pick for the Dallas Mavericks, but has a similar game to that of John Wall in the athleticism and offensive ability. If their talents are similar, how similar could their rookie seasons look at the end of Smith Jr.’s first year in the league?
Let’s look back at Wall’s numbers after his rookie season and if Smith Jr. will have a shot at duplicating them.
Smith Jr. will clearly have the better team than what Wall had back in the 2010-11 season in Washington.
Dennis comes into Dallas where he will be surrounded by Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews on the wing with Nerlens Noel to throw lobs to in the middle. Not to mention the legend in Dirk Nowitzki.
For Wall, he came into a situation where Gilbert Arenas was still around. But just 21 games into the season, Arenas was traded to Orlando and the supporting cast around Wall consisted of Nick Young, Andray Blatche, Jordan Crawford and JaVale McGee.
John Wall – 14.1 FGA
I believe this is a solid number for Smith Jr. to shoot for this season in Dallas.
Last year, Harrison Barnes was the leading scorer on 16 shots a game and Dirk Nowitzki right behind on 12 shots a game.
Smith Jr. will be running the show this season and will have the freedom to run with the ball on the fast break along with getting into the paint at will. Hovering right at, or in between Nowitzki and Barnes’ shot attempts is something that I believe Smith Jr. will do.
John Wall – 16.4 Points Per Game
Like Wall, this is right at the number Smith Jr. should hover at next season.
Barnes led the way with 19.2 points a game with Nowitzki behind him at 14.2 points a game. Matthews averaged 13.5 while Deron Williams averaged 13.1.
Considering the role that Smith Jr. should have this season in Dallas and the upgrade he is over Deron Williams, there is no reason not to believe that Smith Jr. could be second on the team in scoring around the 16 points per game mark.
John Wall – 37 Minutes
This is one of the few categories I believe Wall will have on Smith Jr.
Dallas will definitely ride their rookie, but with the depth behind him at point guard in J.J. Barea, Yogi Ferrell, and Seth Curry, Carlisle will probably try not to run Smith Jr. into the ground this early.
John Wall – 8.3 Assists Per Game
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For the first time in Smith Jr.’s young basketball career, he will finally have elite talent around him. Not only will the talent be around him, but Dallas will have the ability to roll out lineups with four three pointers surrounding the perimeter when Smith Jr. is driving.
Eight assists per game might seem like a lot to some, but Smith Jr.’s ability to penetrate should allow more assists numbers going forward.
Even though Blake Griffin ended up winning the Rookie of the Year award after sitting out his entire rookie season, John Wall would have been a favorite for the award in a normal year.
Basically, the uber athletic John Wall finished the season averaging 16 points and 8 assists on over 30 minutes a night on a team that ended up finishing 23-59 on the season.
If you replaced Dennis Smith Jr.’s name in the above sentence this time next May, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.