In one of the deepest drafts in recent memory (especially at the point guard position), Dennis Smith Jr. coming out of North Carolina State is trying to stand out. He’s gathering quite a lot of interest from teams, with the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings all interested in seeing him for a workout.
Smith Jr. is considered as one of the 4 best point guards in the draft, and a top 10 player. He averaging 18.1 points while shooting 45.5% from the field and dishing out 6.2 assists in his freshman year for the Wolfpack, earning ACC rookie of the year, 2nd team All-ACC selection and ACC all-freshman team honors. Smith, who played his high school basketball at Fayetteville, North Carolina, didn’t seem to wait a very long time before deciding it’s time to go.
Smith would probably be a guaranteed top 5 pick in a different draft. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor, he’s extremely athletic and plays bigger than his 6’3 frame. He’ll also still be 19 when he makes his NBA debut, something NBA teams love.
The team probably most interest in him are the Knicks, who can’t wait to find an energetic point guard to pair up with Kristaps Porzingis. Smith isn’t your classic playmaker point guard, but few are in today’s NBA, and he probably could have shown more of that ability had he played for a better team last season, as NC State went just 4-14 in ACC play. The Knicks select 8th overall, which is quite reasonable a spot for Smith.
The Sixers select third, which seems a bit high, considering the teams seems high on Josh Jackson and probably think there are better point guards (De’Aaron Fox) to select at 3rd. However, if Smith manages to leapfrog over Fox between now and the draft (he’s probably not beating out Fultz and Ball), third is still reasonable.
The Kings might be in the best position to select him, and they do need a point guard. The Kings own two draft picks in the top 10 (5th and 10th), which gives them more flexibility than others. The Timberwolves pick 7th and do like Smith, but unless they’re given up on Ricky Rubio and the disappointing Kris Dunn, Smith might be too much of a luxury for them to take in the first round.