Dallas Mavericks: What to expect from Dennis Smith Jr. in Detroit

Dallas Mavericks Dennis Smith Jr. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Dennis Smith Jr. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks drafted Dennis Smith Jr. ninth overall in 2017. They had just missed the playoffs for the second time since 2001 but were looking to a young point guard to jump-start their rebuild with an aging Dirk Nowitzki on the roster. Smith Jr. started every game as a rookie as he averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.0 steal per game, but struggled with his efficiency.

The Mavericks were back in the lottery in 2018 and traded up to draft Luka Doncic. The two young talents started in the backcourt at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, but the fit was far from ideal. Luka needed to be the primary ball-handler, and DSJ was not suited to play off the ball. Dallas took advantage of their chance to trade for Kristaps Porzingis in Jan. 2019, and Smith Jr. was part of the package shipped to New York.

The 23-year-old point guard struggled with Knicks. He fell completely out of the rotation this season. Smith Jr. was traded on Feb. 7 to the Detroit Pistons with a second round pick for Derrick Rose. The headlines all discussed Rose reuniting with Thibs, but what can fans expect from DSJ in the Motor City?

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What to expect from former Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. in Detroit

The Pistons are currently last in the Eastern Conference and rebuilding. They have taken shots on high draft picks that have struggled. Josh Jackson is averaging 12.3 points in 23.6 minutes per game after being signed this offseason.

Detroit could use a point guard with rookie Killian Hayes on the shelf and Derrick Rose now in New York. Can Smith Jr. earn minutes? He will get a chance. How he performs will determine if he sticks in the rotation. Fans know DSJ is a special athlete with unique leaping ability. Do not be surprised to see a monster dunk coming to your television screen soon.

Hopefully, Dennis Smith Jr. gets his career back on track in Detroit. He showed promise with the Dallas Mavericks. His rookie numbers compared favorably to John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Kemba Walker’s. DSJ is unlikely to reach that peak, but he could be a consistent rotation player. Wishing him the best in Detroit and moving forward.

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