In a dismal 2017-18 season for the Dallas Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. was one of the only bright spots.
The young point guard had an impressive rookie campaign and showed that he has a bright future ahead of him.
He averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.0 steal per game in his debut year in the NBA.
With veteran Dirk Nowitzki entering what is likely to be his final season in the league, he’s looking for a player to pass the torch to.
Taking the reigns
Smith could be the man to take over from the German as the franchise player for the Mavs. Despite being just 20, Dallas will hope he can develop into a leader and a star.
Filling the shoes of Nowitzki, who has carried the Mavericks on his back for 20 years, will not be an easy task.
But there’s no doubt that Smith has the talent to do it as he’s already become a hit with the fans in Texas.
The crowd at American Airlines Center didn’t have much to cheer last season but he gave them some excitement with a stunning highlight reel of dunks.
He’s been compared to Russell Westbrook and a younger Derrick Rose with the explosiveness he plays with.
The former North Carolina State product is already among the quickest guards in the league and Mavs fans will be happy to know that he’ll reach another level this year.
That’s according to Nowitzki who says he’s seen a change in the youngster this offseason.
“He looks more explosive than last year,” he said on 105.3 FM The Fan.
We’ve seen some evidence of this during the offseason with clips of Smith dunking circulating across social media.
It’s crazy just how high the 6’3″ Smith can get when he soars to the rim and Mavericks fans will be in for something special if he does add more explosiveness to his game.
Last year’s number nine pick should also be motivated by the team’s additions this summer as they brought in free agent DeAndre Jordan and drafted the highly-rated Luka Doncic.
The Mavs should certainly improve on their 24-58 record from the previous campaign and be more competitive in the west.
They’re likely to be dark horses for a playoff spot and should be a fun team to watch.
If Smith has added to his game and can take another leap this season, it’ll contribute to Dallas making a marked improvement.
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