A strong class of ball handlers, and Bucks fans’ point guard-goggles, shines at the eighth slot in the community draft board. After a roller coaster freshman year where he flashed the ability to control an uneven offense and create off the dribble, the ACC Rookie of the Year slots in next: Dennis Smith - PG, N.C. State.
Smith, a hair over 6’0” with a 6’3” wingspan, makes up for his subpar stature with speed, quickness and an impressive athleticism considering he tore his ACL about two years ago. He was the lone bright spot on an N.C. State team that played an old-school brand of basketball poorly. It wasn’t conducive to Smith’s game or seemingly the team’s game, as they won only four games in ACC conference play - in their win on the road against Duke Smith did put up a stunning line of 32 points and 6 assists on 4-6 3pt shooting. In an up-and-down season Smith flashed his ability despite a combative system and lack of talent around him, but he also showed a poor demeanor, modest leadership and a lack of effort.
Despite his lack of size, which pigeonholes him into mainly guarding opposing point guards, Smith’s lower center of gravity, quick feet and explosiveness on the offensive end should make him a feisty defender but he’ll need to work on it. Off the ball Smith would often get lazy and show disinterest. Perhaps being in a better situation with a stronger coaching staff will draw that skill and improved mental focus on that end out. His feel for the game did help him net 2.2 steals per 40, pace adjusted, with a 3.1 steal percentage.
Smith utilizes his speed and power in the open court to alternately slow the pace and put on the jets in a moments notice en route to the rim where he attacks with reckless abandon and elusiveness. At the rim Smith shot 65% with only 20% of those shots being assisted, via hoop-math.com, showing Smith’s desire to work independently for those tough shots among the lumbering giants. His ball handling is tight, solid and effective for working the pick and roll and attacking the cup. In spite of an average 72% free throw percentage, Smith drew fouls with ease at a 47.6 free throw rate for 198 attempts on the season.
His Wolfpack team was nothing to write home about, but Smith’s 28.2 usage rate reflects his penchant for ball-stopping, over dribbling and settling for 2 point jumpers -- on which only 3% were assisted -- without ever passing the ball. Smith wasn’t asked to run much of an offense at times, especially compared to what he’ll be asked to do in the Association, so teams should hope solid coaching and a better supporting cast should improve Smith’s demeanor and willingness to dish to teammates at the pro-level. With his role as the primary ball handler though, Smith still put up a 34.2 assist rate for 6.8 assists per 40, pace adjusted, on a team without much shooting around him.
Smith’s shooting form and style isn’t perfect, but he shot a solid 36% on 151 attempts. Almost half of his three-point attempts were assisted, Smith flashes an ability to get his shot up off the dribble or off the ball, a skill which should help him diversify his game in the NBA.
Smith’s game is as more of a primary ball handler which would work well in some Bucks lineups, and if he was running the offense there’s optimism that he could have good pick-and-roll chemistry with the likes of Greg Monroe, Thon Maker or even Giannis Antetokounmpo. Smith’s size wouldn’t make him an ideal fit in the Bucks defensive scheme, but he has an instinct for the game that helps make up for his physical deficiencies when he’s locked in. With an impressive athleticism and quickness Smith can move on the court and is capable of running an NBA offense, and a good environment should improve his overall attitude and harbor a healthy environment for his mentality and his game to mature.
The 2017 Brew Hoop Draft Board
- Markelle Fultz - PG, Washington - DraftExpress Profile
- Lonzo Ball - PG, UCLA - DraftExpress Profile
- Josh Jackson - SF, Kansas - DraftExpress Profile
- De’Aaron Fox - PG, Kentucky - DraftExpress Profile
- Jayson Tatum - SF, Duke - DraftExpress Profile
- Malik Monk - SG, Kentucky - DraftExpress Profile
- Jonathan Isaac - SF/PF, Florida State - DraftExpress Profile
- Dennis Smith - PG, N.C. State - DraftExpress Profile
My Pick for the #9 Spot on the Brew Hoop Community Draft Board is:
This poll is closed
Frank Ntilikina - PG, Strasbourg
Lauri Markkanen - PF, Arizona
Zach Collins - PF/C, Gonzaga
Donovan Mitchell - SG, Louisville
OG Anunoby - SF/PF, Indiana
Luke Kennard - SG, Duke
Trade the pick!