Dennis Smith Jr. (PG, North Carolina State)

 

Measurables: 6’3”, 6’4” wingspan, 195 lbs, 19.5 years old

Strengths

  • Very good “pure point guard” numbers – 34.2 AST%, 17.3 TOV%
  • Fast in the open court, explosive into contact near rim
  • Blast-off dunker, can really explode into rim
  • Great first step, able to get into lane quickly
  • Enjoys contact, able to finish or draw fouls – 7.2 FTA/40
  • Has strength and athleticism to be problem on defense – 2nd in ACC in steals
  • Lockdown potential when he’s locked in
  • Jumper is enough of a threat to punish defenses for going under
  • Flashes of midrange scoring ability
  • Big problem for bigs to switch on to – has jumper threat or ability to explode past
  • Showed ability to hit tough 3 point shots
  • Creative ball handling to get into lane/get jumper off
  • Crafty finishing ability to pair with explosiveness
  • Flashed spot up ability – flourished with rare clean looks in clogged NC State offense (1.5 PPP when open)
  • Very dangerous scorer when jumper is going because of drive threat
  • Passes the eye test in terms of PG vision – can make hard passes with either hand
  • Succeeded as playmaker even while surrounded by poor talent – will look even better with NBA teammates
  • Score-first but certainly more than capable of creating for teammates

Weaknesses

  • 2 point jumper/free throw numbers red flag for 3 point shot – 30.5% from 2 point jumper, 71.2 FT%
  • Poor PG wingspan – likely a 1 position defender
  • Plays lazy at times – watches when he gets beat
  • Makes careless passes, doesn’t wait for plays to develop
  • Picks up dribble with pressure – overall has to be smarter as a PG
  • Shows poor feel for offense at times – when to shoot, when to let play develop
  • Pounds the air out of the ball at times
  • Very questionable shot selection
  • Accuracy/decision making as a passer has to improve
  • Whether or not it had to do with personnel, often looked off open teammates for contested shots
  • Defensive effort level has to get more consistent – plays lazily quite often
  • Stands up in on-ball at times – just unacceptable
  • Jumper mechanics questionable – will need to fix overall form even though it goes in at decent rate
  • Inconsistent elevation on jumper
  • Like Fox, will struggle to get O if defenses don’t respect jumper

Overall

  • Smith is a freak athlete, the strongest of the elite PG prospects, and has shown promise as a shooter. He’s also vastly underrated as a playmaker and will only look better with superior teammates around him. However, his effort level, IQ, and shooting consistency are all serious questions, and for him, it’s going to come down to coaching and situation at the NBA level. For example, a dysfunctional atmosphere like Sacramento would be especially bad for his development and allow his bad habits to fester. A place like Dallas, on the other hand, would be able to mold his tools into one of the top PGs in the league. Smith has a lot of raw gifts, but it’s a matter of harnessing them and working out the kinks in his jumper.

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