The Pros and Cons to Having a Rookie Starting Point Guard
The Dallas Mavericks will most likely be starting a rookie at point guard this year with Dennis Smith Jr. filling that role. Although he appears ready for that workload, what are the pros and cons to having a rookie running the offense?
Shortly after the Dallas Mavericks drafted the high-flying point guard from NC State, Rick Carlisle knew that he had just taken the new starter for the Mavs. This was made known to the fans shortly after the pick, when Coach Carlisle and Donnie Nelson let us know that this was the direction they wanted to head.
Of course, after seeing highlights of his time at NC State, it was no surprise that the Mavs wanted him in the game with the starters. With the makeup of a potential future superstar, Dennis Smith Jr. is ready to be a focal point in Dallas. Is this a good thing? Obviously there are concerns no matter what happens, but when it comes to having a 19-year old starting in the NBA, some more concerns are definitely brought to light.
That being said, let’s talk a little bit about some of the pros and cons of having a rookie starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks this year.
PRO: The rookie is Dennis Smith Jr.
This is the most important point that will be made in this post, just so everyone understands now. Despite the difficulties of playing in the NBA and everything that this entails, Junior is one of the most physically talented players the league has seen in some time. Taking that into account, and the fact that, despite being young, he seems quite mature for his age, the Mavs got a great PG for the future.
CON: Rookie amongst veterans
Although the Mavericks are a fairly young team overall, DSJ will be in the starting lineup with Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews, and Harrison Barnes, all who have years of NBA experience. He also has J.J. Barea and Devin Harris behind him at the point guard position and Rick Carlisle at the helm, a veteran coach. This isn’t always a con, but with a team that has been together for awhile, new blood can always be interesting.
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PRO: Matchups should be favorable
To clarify, I really mean these matchups will be favorable for the Mavericks, not so much for Junior. With the Western Conference stacked with talent at the point guard position (Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, etc.), it is important to have someone who can keep up with them and be physical with them. Junior has the tools to do both.
CON: The NBA is a different game
As ready as we may believe Junior to be, it doesn’t change the fact that the NBA is a completely different animal to tackle. Despite the abilities he has, starting in the NBA is going to take some time to adjust to. The first few months will be full of trials and a learning curve, but DSJ should eventually be ready to hold his own no matter what.
PRO: He will grow with a young core
Although the Mavs starting lineup has a few veterans, the core of the team is young. Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Yogi Ferrell, and Nerlens Noel (for now) are all very young and will be able to grow together. Now adding DSJ to that group gives the Mavs a nice group of youngsters that have a lot of potential. It may not pay off this year, but it will in the long run.
CON: A new hurdle for Carlisle
This may turn out to be a pro in the long run, but one of the most concerning things to me is the fact that Coach Carlisle prefers to coach veterans over youngsters. For years fans have worried that Dallas would never get a rookie to break into the main rotation because Dallas kept getting different veterans to fill the void instead of those who were drafted. This year will break that mold which may not be easy.
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All-in-all, the Dallas Mavericks are going to enjoy having Dennis Smith Jr. in the starting lineup this season, no matter what happens. It may take some time for everything to fully iron out, but the Mavs got one of the best players in the draft.