The Dallas Mavericks selected point guard Dennis Smith Jr. of North Carolina State University with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The eight picks preceding were:
- Markelle Fultz, Guard, Washington (76ers)
- Lonzo Ball, Guard, UCLA (Lakers)
- Jayson Tatum, Forward, Duke (Celtics)
- Josh Jackson, Forward, Kansas (Suns)
- De'Aaron Fox, Guard, Kentucky (Kings)
- Jonathon Isaac, Forward, FSU (Magic)
- Lauri Markkanen, NCSU (Bulls via Timberwolves)
- Frank Ntilikina, Guard, France (Knicks)
Smith Jr. is a freak athlete, reportedly recording a 48-inch vertical, despite tearing his ACL and missing his entire high school senior basketball season. He was a top-10 recruit according to all major scouting websites, but had a disappointing freshmen season at NC State. The team went 15-17 (4-14 in ACC play) last year.
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Smith was the first ACC player with two triple-doubles in conference play, according to ESPN, and averaged 18 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals in his lone season with the Wolfpack.
Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said he projects Smith to be a starter in his first NBA season.
The Mavs got a player with a decent shooting touch — 35% from three, 71% from the free throw line — and a strong handle.
The complaints against Smith are that he rushes on the offensive end and can become lazy on the defensive end, but Carlisle is known for getting the most out of players and the rookie should be no different.
Smith Jr. fills the Mavs' decencies last season as a fast, offensively-skilled point guard. He will be competing with Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry for the starting gig this fall.