Dennis Smith Jr. Was “Almost Certain” He Was Going to Orlando

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 2: Dennis Smith Jr.
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 2: Dennis Smith Jr. /

Before Monday’s matchup with the Orlando Magic, Dennis Smith Jr. said he believed Orlando was going to be his home before the draft.

Sometimes things don’t go how you think they will go no matter how you want it to end up.

For Dennis Smith Jr., he may or may not have had a preference on where to go on draft night, but he sounded like he had a strong idea where his next home was going to be.

Back in June, there wasn’t a ton of speculation at the top of the draft after Philadelphia traded up to get Fultz and Los Angeles seemed destined for Lonzo Ball. Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson were looked at as the next best prospects and after that, it was free game between a handful of prospects.

De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Malik Monk, Frank Ntilikina, Zach Collins, Jonathan Isaac, and Lauri Markkanen all made up that next group of players.

Most prospects of that caliber work out for every team in the top ten, but for Dennis Smith Jr., he worked out with the Orlando Magic twice in the pre-draft workouts.

For a team like the Magic looking for their next star of the franchise, Smith Jr. could have fit the bill moving forward.

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After Fultz, Ball, Tatum and Jackson were off the board, Sacramento went with De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky. This set the table for Orlando to get their hands on the guy they had just finished working out twice before the draft.

But with the 6th pick in the draft, the Orlando Magic selected Jonathan Isaac out of Florida State.

This surprised some across the league and draft process, including Dennis Smith Jr. himself.

“I was almost certain. I was almost certain I was going at number six,” Smith Jr. said when asked about how confident he felt that he would be drafted by Orlando at six.

After Orlando, Markkanen went off the board to Chicago and New York selected Ntilikina, thus paving the way for Dallas to get their guy in Smith Jr.

Even though Smith Jr. was surprised by it, he is thankful for where he ended up.

“But it didn’t happen that way and I’m thankful for what happened,” Smith Jr. said.

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I believe the fans are just as happy and thankful.