2016-17 Season Stats:
45.5% from the field
35.9% from three
71.5% from the free-throw line
Weight: 195 pounds. Height w/shoes: 6’2 Wingspan: 6’3″. Max Vert: N/A
Current (2017) Derrick Rose
The rise of point guards continues in the NBA and the league will get another outstanding product in Dennis Smith. He is the most athletic and explosive player in this draft. Look for him to be a favorite for many fans right away. He didn’t play for a big name school with North Carolina State and did not win by any means in his first year of ACC play, but had the individual accolades to solidify him as an elite player. Smith will join a league with young, quick and athletic floor generals. His athletic ability reminds many scouts of old school point guards Baron Davis and Steve Francis. Others have compared him to both Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard.
Despite having a shoot-first mentality, he is a willing passer and makes everyone around him better. NC State lacked shooters on the floor and didn’t surround Smith with the greatest of offensive talent. Yet, he averaged over six assists per game and it could have been a lot more. His style of play makes him an ideal guard for any team in today’s league. One thing that does separate Smith from the other guards with that kind of athleticism is his wingspan. He does not have the longest arms, which hurts him at times on the other side of the ball.
Smith tore his ACL in high school and had to sit out his entire senior season. He used his time at NC State to rehab and get back in rhythm. He ended up winning ACC Rookie of the Year. Smith’s leaping ability, combined with his strength, makes him a very good rebounder for his position. And despite his below average wingspan, he can protect the rim better than most other players his size because of his IQ on the court. He averages nearly a block a game and with his quick hands and ability to play the passing lane, he averages nearly two steals per game. However, With his high steal rate, Smith does often gamble on defense and lets his man get past him if he does not get the ball right away.
Like many other young prospects, Smith does not have the best jumper. Because of that, he can struggle in the pick and roll. When he doesn’t get passed his defender with his first step, the play does not end up going well and he can freeze up. However, it’s rare that he doesn’t get passed his defender right away. He’s an absolute nightmare in the open court and will benefit greatly playing in a fast-paced offense. He can get to the line better than most guards (6.3 attempts this season) and knows how to use his skills at the rim. Due to his ability to get to the rim, his lack of a consistent jumper doesn’t hurt him as much as it actually should.
15 months removed from his ACL surgery and Smith’s athleticism does not look like it’s been lost at all. If this is how Smith looks post-ACL surgery, scouts are already drooling at the potential he can have at an NBA level. Smith is a franchise player and one that many teams will look to build around given the state of the NBA. Teams like the Knicks, Sixers and Kings should target Smith early. This draft is deep and star-heavy. Right now, he can go as high as the third or fourth pick. However, given the draft’s depth, he will realistically be drafted just before the top ten. Dennis Smith has the right attitude on and off the court, has a team-first mindset and several different tools to be successful in the NBA.