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Dennis Smith Jr. – 6’2″ Point Guard, North Carolina State University, 19 years Old
Dennis Smith Jr. is a point guard coming out of NC State University. At the moment, Smith is projected to be selected in the top ten, given his highly successful freshman campaign. Smith though, is also in a point guard heavy class, and as a result has fallen under the radar a bit. However, when you look closely at Smith’s skill set, one must wonder how that has happened?
Smith’s game is generated around his offensive mentality, especially his scoring prowess. Averaging 18.1 points per game in his freshman season, Smith has shown an ability to carry the scoring load. Smith though, also serves as a facilitator.
Averaging 6.2 assists per game, Smith has shown a willingness to find the open man and be an unselfish force on the offensive end. What’s even more impressive though, is his work load.
Playing a whopping 34.8 minutes per game, Smith has shown an ability to haul minutes night in and night out. Doing so at such a young stage of his career is encouraging, given that he’ll be playing around that same minute mark per game down the road in his NBA career. In addition to his offensive game, Smith also plays with a passion on the defensive end.
Averaging 1.9 steals per game, Smith has the ability to serve as a gnat on the defensive end.
While he’s an all around nice player on the offensive end, Smith tends to be rather inconsistent, in regards to his shooting. Shooting just 35.9% from beyond the arc, Smith will need to improve his outside game if he’s to become a well versed threat on the offensive end. Another thing to keep an eye on with Smith is his health.
Smith missed his entire senior season in high school, just a year ago with a torn ACL. While he did play well last year, Smith’s health is a question mark going forward, given the young age he underwent such a drastic injury.
Smith has the potential to be a consistent and reliable force in the NBA, as long as injuries don’t come back to haunt the young stages of his career. As long as he does remain durable, Smith can easily pan out to be a top ten point guard down the line. Another thing to consider with Smith is the lack of attention he’s drawing.
With many teams and scouts fortifying their point guard searches at Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz and De’Aaron Fox, Smith hasn’t been a name overwhelmingly mentioned – which is puzzling. Smith’s current skill set should have him in the discussion with these three, but regardless of facts, it hasn’t. That helps make Smith the underdog of this draft class – something which could allow him to thrive and succeed at a high level in the NBA.
Given the skill set he currently possesses, Smith’s game draws comparison to Hawks’ point guard Dennis Schroder. Much like Smith, Schroder is amongst the most underrated at his position, if not the league. Their skill sets are also near identical.
Both Smith and Schroder serve as go-to scoring options, as well as facilitators. Their weaknesses are also similar to one another.
Much like Smith, Schroder isn’t stellar from the outside. Shooting just 34.0% from beyond the arc, Schroder doesn’t wow anybody with his perimeter play.
Given his underrated skill set and identical style of play, Smith’s play resembles that of Schroder.