Dennis Smith Jr. is the gritty guard of the Dallas Mavericks’ future.

Some of the early hype may have died down. Make no mistake though, Dennis Smith Jr. is a force to be reckoned with. A relentless finisher at the rim with a never-back-down attitude you love to see. 

Taken with the 9th overall pick, the 6’2 guard didn’t draw much attention as top prospects Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz. That all changed once the rookies took to the NBA hardwood. Smith Jr. has shown that he is a willing scorer and an exceptional athlete.

His aggressiveness to the basket is really what sets him apart from his counterparts. Showing no fear when rising up and taking contact from much larger defenders. He shows a very similar style to a young Russell Westbrook. Scoring inside the paint and getting to the foul line.

At the moment he isn’t an immediate threat from behind the 3 point line, currently shooting .305%. But the ability to create off the dribble and keep the defenders on their heels is quite evident. Only time will tell if his shooting touch develops over the years. In a league that is valuing the 3 more and more each day, it’s vital that he improves.

As of now the young stud has my vote, along with Donovan Mitchell, for participants in the Slam Dunk Contest. A throw down between two up and comers and well seasoned veterans would sure to excite to fans. Just another reason why Dennis Smith Jr. and this 2017 class is so intriguing.

Smith Jr. has the chance to take the reigns of the franchise from Dirk Nowitzki as he winds down the end of his career. Also with the signing of Harrison Barnes last year in the offseason, the two might have the opportunity to form an interesting one-two punch.

Going forward the young guard will most likely look to get his shot more. Averaging around 13.5 points 28 games into the season, the only direction is up for Smith Jr. Maybe with some midseason transactions or offensive shift in game plan the floor will open for the rookie.

Until then the Mavericks will have to be complacent slumming it in the bottom of the powerhouse Western conference. Giving Dennis Smith Jr. plenty of time to turn into the star they need.