NBA Scouts Break Down Summer-League Standout Dennis Smith Jr.

A polarizing talent entering the draft, Dennis Smith Jr. has the NBA community buzzing during summer league. And it’s raising questions as to how he fell to the Dallas Mavericks at No. 9. 

So Bleacher Report reached out to NBA evaluators for answers on why teams passed and whether they should have.

Much like Ben Simmons in 2015-16 at LSU and Markelle Fultz with Washington last season, Smith put up big numbers for a team that couldn’t reach the NCAA tournament. His 18.1 points and 6.2 assists per game were fueled by full-package scoring and playmaking, as well as the type of athleticism that’s synonymous with upside.

But all the losses, plus frustrating inconsistency, cast a cloud over his production, especially after Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox took names in the NCAA tournament. 

Given Smith’s obvious talent, the critical question is whether the concerns on his scouting report were legitimate or blown out of proportion, given his unfavorable college situation. Through four games in Las Vegas, he’s looked highly convincing and poised to make a few general managers regret their draft-night decision.

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