If one looks back at Dennis' scouting profile on NBAdraft.net, his upside is ridiculous. Below I'll highlight what I believe the Team's coaching staff have been addressing this summer. Cause IMO, Rick Carlise is a more veteran's coach and actually very fortunate that Luka has already been developed playing pro ball in Europe. Both NCS and Dallas weren't ideal as there wasn't either enough time, ACL recovering at NCS or enough veteran leadership, as Dirk was just running out his time.
This year with the coaching staff working with him everyday, the uber tough veteran leadership, he should finally find a very supportive and fertile environment to reach another level. https://www.nbadraft.net/players/dennis-smith
Strengths: Smith is arguably the most explosive athlete in the draft, despite tearing his ACL a little over a year ago
... He is very shifty with the ball in his hands and has tremendous burst ... An elite level athlete who attacks the rim like a player 5 inches bigger
... Possesses solid size for a PG at 6'2 in shoes with a 6'5 wingspan and 8'1 standing reach ... He is also a strong, physical guard with the ability to absorb contact and finish acrobatically at the rim (61% at the rim) ... Smith has outstanding leaping ability off of both one or two feet, which led to numerous highlight reel dunks in his freshman year at NC State ... He also has the strength, quickness, and speed to be an excellent on ball defender when locked in ... Smith is a nightmare to guard in the open court with and his ability to change gears with power ... He also attacks the rim fearlessly off the bounce where he can finish explosively above the rim with regularity ... He also has an excellent first step from a stand still position and can cover a lot of ground with the dribble ... He does a great job of inviting contact and getting to the free throw line frequently (6.9 free throw attempts per 40 minutes) ... Smith’s strength also helps him fight through screens and recover quickly defensively ... He has quick hands and good instincts and can really be a problem for opposing ball handlers when pressured (2.2 steals per 40 minutes)
... Smith is a score first point guard with the ability to put pressure on the defense via isolation or the pick and roll ... He is quite difficult to stay in front of due to his shiftiness and ability to drive with either hand ... He is also improving as a shooter, particularly from long range where he shot a respectable 35.9% this season ... Where Smith truly shines on the offensive end, however, is his ability to create his own offense ... He can fill it up from all three levels, which will bode well for him in a modern NBA with an abundance of scoring point guards ... He does a good job of reading his defender off the pick and roll and has the ability to rise into a pull up jumper, where he gets great elevation ... He also frequently utilizes a lethal step back jumper when the guard is able to recover off the screen ... He improved as a 3 point shooter as his freshman season progressed ... Smith is a tough shot maker with the ability to bail his team out late in the shot clock ... He has the ability to make a play on the offensive end every time he touches the ball in one way or another ... Especially when his jumper is falling, there is almost no way to guard him because his so dangerous off the dribble and getting to the basket ... He is exceptional at creating space with jab steps, a variety of dribble moves, and a quick rising pull up jumper ... He is best when on the ball but is a capable spot up shooter when left open ... He has an innate ability to attack closeouts hard to pull up off the dribble or finish at the rim ... Smith primarily is looking to score, but he is a capable playmaker as well
(6.8 assists per 40 minutes) ... He wasn't in an ideal situation at N.C. State, but he is capable of creating space, surveying the floor and passing the ball with either hand out of pick and roll situations ... With better talent around him in the NBA, he will look like an even better playmaker ... His open court speed makes him particularly dangerous in transition, as he will collapse the defense and find cutters or open shooters on the perimeter ... He does not need a screen to collapse the defense ... Instead he can usually break his man down off the dribble and get in the paint to kick out to open teammates ... He also shows flashes of impressive vision and accuracy off the pick and roll ... He will have a chance to be an absolute force on both ends of the court in the NBA ... Has excellent size at the point guard position at 6'2 with a 6'5 wingspan ... Shows a lot of confidence in his abilities and has a swagger on the floor, should not have any trouble adjusting to playing at the NBA level and be a standout PG at the next level ... His upside is among the best of any player in this draft ...
Weaknesses: Questions about attitude, focus and desire have surrounded Smith since his high school days ... Has a tendency to rely on his physical gifts and not pay enough attention to detail in regards to improving as a PG .
.. As talented as Smith is, he is still learning how to play the position and run a team offense at an optimum level ... He can improve his feel for when to create his own offense or when to facilitate ... He did not always seem to be on the same page with his teammates, which could be interpreted as a lack of leadership
... His overall decision-making, particularly off the pick and roll still need to improve, and he needs to become more vocal to be a quality leader in the NBA ... He can be a bit turnover prone, as he has a tendency to make careless entry passes and pick up his dribble against pressure without knowing where he wants to go with the ball ... He does not always initiate the offense with consistency and can learn to be more unselfish ... Often times he will launch a contested shot without any prior passes or turn it over before any set is run ... Smith also will settle for long jumpers early in the shot clock or force contested pull up jumpers instead of getting all the way to the rim or making a play for someone else ... In transition he is dangerous, but he does not always look ahead for open teammates and will instead force a low percentage shot ... He does the same off the pick and roll where he will frequently miss wide open teammates when double teamed off the screen ... Smith struggled with consistency this past season in terms of effort and overall impact ... Fell asleep defensively far too often showing a lack of commitment and focus ... Despite the fact that he has great upside defensively, his intensity has to improve ... Smith did not have a great situation at NC State,
but a player as talented as him should be able to carry them to a more successful season ... Too often he proved to be lazy fighting through screens and closing out on shooters ... He can be too upright and often appears uninterested in keeping his man in front of him ... As a shooter, he still has room to improve, as he is best with some upward momentum ... He releases the ball on the way down sometimes and has an occasional hitch at the top of his release, which leads to sporadic results .
Notes: Measured 6'2 in shoes, 6'5 wingspan, 190 lbs, and 8'1 standing reach in the summer of 2016 ... Highest-ranked recruit NC State has signed since the Recruiting Services Consensus Index began ranking prospects in 1998 ... No. 4 recruit overall and No. 1 point guard according to ESPN.com ... No. 6 overall recruit in composite ranking by 247 sports and 10th overall by Scout … Tore his ACL on August 7 of his senior year of high school and elected to graduate high school in December … Enrolled at NC State in January of 2016 … Averaged 22.2 points per game as a junior for Trinity Christian School … Named North Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year while leading Trinity Christian to 1A high school state semifinal … Led Trinity to a state championship as a sophomore … Played AAU Basketball for Team Loaded…2nd Team All-ACC Selection
William Peter Desautelle III 5/23/17
Strengths: Explosive point guard with size and great intangibles for the position … Elite level athlete and plays well above the rim. Incredibly explolsive and has a lightning first step ... Attacks the rim with aggression. Very good finisher … Far from a one dimensional athlete... Charasmatic personality. Great leadership ... Has a team first mentality ... Highly unselfish, very willing passer ... Has an advanced feel for the game ... Controls the tempo of the game well ... Sees the floor and passes the ball well ... Led the adidas Gauntlet in assists with 6.9 per game ... Plays with patience and doesn’t force his offense ... Quick decision maker, reads and reacts well … Plays well in isolation and thrives in transition ... Handles the ball well and gets where he wants with his dribble … Good defensive ability. Blocks shots well for a guard, almost averaged a block per game over the adidas Gauntlet
... Can be a good perimeter defender when committed ... Has the ability to harass and rip opposing ball handler … Strong body, can finish in traffic and stay on his driving path with some contact ... Draws fouls and gets to the free throw line at a high rate …
Weaknesses: Has room to improve as an outside shooter. Tends to hesitate when shooting off the catch ... Only shot 22.5% from three over the adidas Gauntlet ... Has shooting range out to the three, though still needs consistency .
.. Can become more dedicated on the defensive end ... Doesn’t always get in a low stance. Tends to gamble a bit … Shows a floater when he beats the first line of defense but overall can improve his overall midrange game … Tends to go through the motions at times, can be too nonchalant
… Doesn’t move much off the ball. Can improve in the half court … Knee injury raises questions where his immense athleticism makes him injury prone. To his credit he has relentlessly attacked his rehab and strengthening his legs and body ...
Outlook: Smith enters his freshman season at NC State. The highly touted guard sat out his senior high school season with a torn ACL and attended NC State to rehab it. He impressed scouts at adidas Nations this year while looking explosive and fully recovered. With a solid year, Smith has a chance to a high pick in a talented 2017 draft class.