Dennis Smith- 6-2, 195,

PG, NC ST, 50.9% 2-P, 6.2 APG

6-3" WS, 35.9% 3-P, 8-1 SR,

18.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 SPG, .4 BPG

He Could Be A Celtic, Part II.

By Tom Mahoney

Smith is all flash and dash. He is a blur in the open court. He is a one man fast break. In a Draft marked by exceptional Point Guards, there is no better PG in this Draft in the open court. If you want to add pace and speed to your offensive attack, he is as good as any of the top picks at fast breaking a team. 

He reminds me physically of Tiny Archibald, and his daring forays to the hoop. "Is that lack of winning going to translate to the pros? I don’t put a lot of stock in it," a western exec said. "His role is going to be different. These guys are so young. They need to develop, not only physically, but emotionally. As a freshman it’s really tough. Not many guys can do it." He is also the traffic cop who runs the offense for the HC. And while he has been a little wild off the court, he is always in control on the Court. 

He is not the best Three point shooter of the PGs in this Draft. "The most impressive thing about Smith was at Adidas," a scout said. "I’m looking at the roster, I’m sitting there saying ‘Dennis Smith, he’s going to be here?’ I was there the year before when he tore his knee up. And he comes back to the same place, and he’s out there and he’s boogying? My guys in North Carolina, they were talking him in the eighth or ninth grade. They were telling me, Dennis is the type, if he wasn’t getting paid, he’d still be out there hooping." His first priority as a pro is to improve his 3-point shot. But that will come with age, experience, and repetition.

He has to work on his Three point shooting relentlessly. He was at 35% last season, and a PG his size needs to be up to about 40% in the NBA. He has the form to do it. The problem is that he is one of those guys who is better shooting on the move, which is a detriment to shooting Threes. 

He is a great jumper shooter off the dribble. "I think most people think Smith has the edge (over Fox), but I think he lost some in some people’s eyes because of the injury," a scout said. "His body language and mannerisms on the court, people are looking at that closely." He plays best when he out quicks everyone. So his game is shooting off motion and on the move. 

He is very hot and cold with his shot. But when he gets confident, he can shot it from anywhere on the move. Understands the game like chess, and often appears to be two or three steps ahead of everyone else. 

He is 6-2. Nice hops. He can catch the ball from a standing position, one step, and leap up and dunk. Nice quick twitch athlete. Great dribbler. He can attack the paint through a hole going left, and then leap back and to the right, and kiss it off the glass. Very impressive. Nice jumper. He uses his legs and wrist perfectly. 

Nice job going left and spotting his shooter in the corner and hitting him. Nice crossover to explode to the hole righty. Very tricky dribbler. He gets so low while dribbling that it is impossible to steal it. 

I love his 3-point shot. I wish he get more Vert on it, but that is more nit-picking then complaint. Terrific job drawing in the double, and then kicking it past the doubling defender for an open shot by his teammate. He can drive right, get twisted in the air, and toss it awkwardly in the hoop lefty. Elite ball handler. Great crossover. He can leap up slice between two bigger defenders, and double pump in off the glass on the other side. Great Vert off the dribble. 

He can pull up beyond the arc, off the dribble, with a defender in his face, and knock it down at the buzzer. Nice job absorbing the double and bouncing it inside to his Big. He can make such a tricky pass that it hits his Big in the hands, and it startles the Big to see the ball in his hand. Knows how to attack with pace, and can slow it down in the break to let his shooter get into position to shoot, and give him the ball. 

Great passer. He can zip off a one handed pass, off the dribble, while slicing past a defender to his big under the basket for a dunk. Great clutch passer and shooter. He really controls everything for NC State. His play against Duke at the end of the 2nd Half was as clutch as I've seen. From 3-point shooting, to three great passes to teammates for open shots, to stealing the ball in the final second to end the game. 

Smith Vs Duke:

He is the traffic cop directing traffic on the offensive end. He is a great change of pace dribbler in the offense. He consistently shows you one thing and does another. Watch the great crossover past the Pick for easy basket (:25). He gets the ball back at the Angle (:43). A little jab step with a shimmy to get some space. Then the Three. He uses his legs well, falls back a little, and snaps his wrist well.

He uses the pick, but slows to allow the offense to move. Then the lefty dribble as he retreats back for the bigger players pressure. He shows you one thing and then does another. The Big thought he was going to shoot it (and so did I). So he retreated back down into the Paint. Smith followed him beautifully down the lane (:54). Then he leaped into a defender and drew the foul.

I love how burst laterally in front of the pick. Then sees the defender hop out a little tentative. Then another quick laterally burst he is past his shoulder. You cannot let that cat go righty on you. He absorbs a couple hits, and makes it look easy (1:11). When he sets, even for a split second, he shoots the Three with much better accuracy (1:26). But he shots it on the move too much, and tries to balance in the air.

This is why the Celtics like him. They want to play with pace. Smith can do that, and the old dipsy-do as well (1:36). Once he starts to feel it, you can see he starts to shoot the Three on the move more. And he goes up and balances in the air and then shoots. It is pretty when he hits it, but not so much when his Three percentage goes down to 35% (2:00). But that's what he is. A hot and cold scoring point guard.

I like him a lot more when he drives to pass and not just score. He can make the pass that make his teammates better, but sometimes forgets that. That was a beautiful lay down pass to give his Big a freebie (2:27). He gets the ball in the open court, and has all the options in front of him (2:37). Great no look pass to make his teammate better.

Nice. We get to see some defense. He gets low and light on his toes. He gets his hand on the picker. Then watch the quick lateral burst as the PG tries to bounce it under him (2:45). He doesn't like the angle. So he waits. Then he sees his shooter coming. So he moves up, and gives him a nice soft pass that puts him in his spot. That's some top level basketball there. He is already signaling Three before his shooter even shoots it. He was four steps ahead of everyone on that play.

He can attack lefty and draw the foul (3:00). He will go inside on defense and rebound as well. He is small but tough as nails. Then he is breaking down court with great pace. He just runs through and over three defenders for the end to end (3:10). He fight over two Dukies for the rebound and the foul (3:18). He shows you one thing and gives you another (3:33). He dribbles right into the two Bigs, and watch the lightning spin past Tatum, like he is a statue, for the easy score (yeah, he can cover Ones;).

This is why you draft him. He is a great pick and roll Point. He tries to shake off the double, and draws a foul as the roller goes down the lane. Watch this pass. He regains his balance and spots the roller, with a one-handed, on the move, half-hook pass for the freebie (3:44). When he is feeling it. He can pull up from NBA Three on the move (4:01). But that is not the shot you want him consistently taking. That is an in the Zone only shot.

He gets every one moving one way, and then everyone moving the other way, and loops a pass the other way to make his teammate look better (4:01). He slows and directs traffic. Then gets everyone moving to the right, and pass it back to the left to his 3-point shooter (4:25). He works his way around the pick lefty. He is not as explosive lefty, but he can take it to the hole and score lefty in the clutch (4:41). He can rebound in the paint in the clutch, and hit clutch free throws (4:49). Oh, and steal the ball, in the clutch, to end the game.

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Smith Vs Duke


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