“Beauty in the Struggle” For Dennis Smith Jr. in Camp

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 16: Dennis Smith Jr.
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 16: Dennis Smith Jr. /

It’s the first training camp for the 19-year-old Dennis Smith Jr. and he’s feeling the difficulties of learning everything at once.

For the past two seasons in Dallas, Rick Carlisle has went into camp knowing that a veteran in Deron Williams would be running his offense and controlling the game.

This year, it’s the newly drafted, 19-year-old rookie in Dennis Smith Jr.

“He is learning an awful lot in a very short period of time,” Rick Carlisle said after day three of training camp. “When you are a 19-year-old lottery pick who is projected as a starter, there is a lot coming at you all of the time.”

Thursday marked day three of training camp where Carlisle is altering his offensive system to fit around the roster he has constructed. A new system for a brand new point guard.

“Just encouraging him to be patient,” Carlisle continued on when talking about what he has been telling Smith Jr.  “We are doing film sessions after every practice which has really helped these guys. Keep learning. He is making some spectacular plays and there is always going to be some mistakes you got to learn from,” Carlisle said.

After practice on day three, the rookie joined the media to talk about his adjustment to his first NBA training camp.

"“I’m trying to take everything in. It’s a lot to process mentally and physically,” Smith Jr. said. “Coming in at 19, it’s my first ever training camp. I got a really great staff and vets around me so I believe I am preparing the right way.”"

Each day, at the conclusion of practice, Smith Jr. has been seen surrounded by different members of the coaching staff. Assistant Coach Darrell Armstrong has been seen side-by-side with the rookie each day after camp with Assistant Coach, God Shammgod, not too far away.

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As far as which part of the learning curve is the hardest, Smith Jr. couldn’t pinpoint a specific area, but admitted it has been difficult.

“It’s tough to say which is the hardest. Not too much is coming easy right now which is good. There is beauty in the struggle. I’m sure y’all know that. I’m taking it one step at a time and be the best Dennis Smith,” Smith Jr. said.

Some players might not admit that training camp is hard, but it’s cool that the rook is candid and honest in admitting how difficult it is for him learning everything at once.

It might not be coming that easy for Smith Jr. now, but Dallas hasn’t seen anything quite like him at the point guard spot.

“His attitude is great. The physical element he brings to the team is unlike anything we have ever had at the point guard position. He’s going to keep progressing,” Carlisle said.

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