Dennis Smith’s first summer league game report

Dennis Smith finished his first professional game with a statline of 14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and just 1 turnover on 5-12 shooting and 1-6 from 3, and 3-3 from the line. Let’s break down what Smith did well and what Smith needs to improve for next game:

Let’s compare how Smith did to his scouting report from NC State:

  • First, the biggest issue of motor: I didn’t see any issues when Smith gave up on a play or did not give 100% effort. He dove for a loose ball on defense, hustled to beat lazy big men that weren’t boxing out, and even boxed out Markkanen and other Bulls bigs.
  • Smith was a monster in transition. He’s too fast, and when he gets to the rim he finishes similarly to Derrick Rose. Absolute blur in open space. I noted that Smith’s best offensive element was his transition play, thanks to elite athleticism.
  • 3 point shot was subpar. He didn’t get great lift, and his form was inconsistent from shot-to-shot and inconsistent from what was seen at NC State. However, he was forced into some bad shots by the shot clock, which were thanks to Smith overdribbling at times, but also because of a lack of movement and Smith being pressured. Smith lost confidence in his 3 point shot in the 2nd half when he passed up arguably his most open look of the day. Instead, it resulted in a nice dump bounce pass that would draw a shooting foul, so he did a good job maximizing the situation. Smith needs to continue to have confidence in his 3, even if it is not falling.
  • Smith’s on ball defense for the most part was passable. However, off-ball he would give his defenders a lot of room at the 3 point line. This was an issue in college, as he’d sag off and have to gamble on a hard closeout if the offensive player got the ball. This will be an issue in regular season NBA games if this continues.
  • Smith was excellent getting to the basket. While he was obviously better in transition in getting to the paint, he was sufficient at attacking the basket in the halfcourt. As I said earlier, his ability to attack the paint reminds me of Derrick Rose. His drive and kick was also good, but it wasn’t present for more than a few plays. Early on, his passes started as lazy- an issue we saw when he was in college. However, he adapted quickly, which is a great sign.

Overall, Smith had a really solid day and the biggest takeaway is that he had a solid motor in a somewhat meaningless game. Smith’s jumper seemed off, but I don’t think it’s wise to react to that until maybe another game- and even then it’s not that wise. Remember that summer league is essentially meaningless long term. It’s main purpose is to judge who should get a training camp invite.

Other notes:

  • Brussino had some heavy inconsistencies. Still needs more confidence.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith looks to have changed his form to have more leaning forward in it. We’ll see how it goes, but I am not a fan of the new shot.
  • Yogi was too good for the Summer League. I wonder if he plays the whole schedule.
  • Brandon Ashley has had a really good summer league. I wonder if his 21 point performance today earned him a training camp invite.
  • Motley sprained his ankle in the 3rd quarter. He came back into the game, but I don’t want the Mavericks to rush him back and risk re-injury.
  • Dennis Smith was moved to the 2 in the second half, and was virtually invisible. Tracking his off ball play will be an interesting development.
  • Ding Yanyuhang was a fan favorite. 2-2 with 5 points and 3 assists

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