Dallas Mavericks: LeBron James Recognizes Talent When He Sees It
By Kohl Rast
The Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers faced off last night for the first time this season. Needless to say, LeBron James was just as impressed by the new rookie as all of us have been.
Dennis Smith Jr. has been a pretty impressive sight so far this season. Aside from his high-flying, sky-rising, death-defying dunks that we can expect almost once a game at this point, DSJ has also shown that he has great playmaking abilities and an above average passing ability as well. These are just some of the tools that Junior brings to the game.
All of his skills were on full display as the Mavs went searching for a big time upset against the Cleveland Cavaliers yesterday. The comeback bid in the fourth quarter was almost there, led in large part by Dennis Smith Jr., but a few miscues on both ends and one tough lay-up missed by the rookie and Dallas was toast once again.
Shortly after that play, where DSJ attempted to maneuver around multiple defenders before settling on a tough reverse lay-up on the other side, it was plain to see that LeBron James had some (presumably) constructive criticism for the rookie. What looked like a conversation about helping the 19-year old with his confidence in finishing around the rim, definitely included some hand motions referring to that specific play.
After the game, King James gave the rookie some deserving respect.
As this is clearly praise towards a young rookie who has been playing incredibly well through his first dozen games, it is nice to see others recognizing his incredible talent. Dennis Smith Jr. has not had a chance to respond to LeBron’s comments yet from what I have seen, but I’m sure the mature rookie will take the compliment in stride.
Naturally, New York Knicks fans did not like the way that James praised DSJ and immediately began supporting their own youngster, Frank Ntilikina. Although I don’t think that LeBron’s comments were aimed directly at Ntilikina, who has only been able to play in a handful of games so far this season, it is not a secret that Junior has been much more impressive than the young, French, point guard so far.
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All of that aside, the Mavs scored with Dennis and fans are going to recognize that more and more as the years go on. LeBron sees it, most of ESPN sees it, and the entire NBA will see it soon. The Mavericks got a good one.