Dennis Smith Jr. blistering competition in Las Vegas Summer League

Two games into his Summer League stint with the Mavericks, former Wolfpack guard is making a name for himself

Brad Penner—USA Today Sports
Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki poses for photos with his Twyman–Stokes Teammate of the Year award during the 2017 NBA Awards at Basketball City at Pier 36.

Dennis Smith Jr. made ridiculousness the norm during his time in Raleigh. Whether it was a throwdown dunk after a steal on the other end, two triple-doubles in ACC play or scoring 30-plus points in Cameron Indoor, DSJ was always worth the price of admission.He’s living up to that same billing early on with the Dallas Mavericks in Summer League.Smith may just be two games into his Las Vegas Summer League debut with the Mavs, but he’s making an impact already. In those two games, Smith is averaging 19.5 points in 26 minutes per game, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals, and shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.Before being guarded by fellow lottery pick Josh Jackson late against the Phoenix Suns, Smith was picking apart 7-foot-1 center Dragan Bender. And after scoring 25 points to go along with his eight rebounds, four assists and four steals, Smith was feeling a little confident, to say the very least.”Super confident. Super confident,” Smith said. “I work hard on my athleticism, explosiveness, attacking. I went through that a lot, that exact scenario. I’m very confident coming off the screen and going at a big.”Smith Jr. muscles his way in for the deuce #MavsSL17— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) July 8, 2017
But it’s not so much about the volume on the stat sheet as it is his flare for ridiculous plays. Smith is hitting stepback triples, absurd layups between defenders and, of course, a few throwdown dunks, showing off every bit of athleticism Dallas expected when he was drafted at No. 9 overall.Then there was the LeBron-esque block after running down his opponent on the opposite end of the court. Let’s just say the 48-inch vertical jump Smith flashed during his pre-draft workouts helped on the block.What can't this kid do? #MavsSL17— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) July 9, 2017
More importantly for the Mavs, Smith is showing all the signs that he can be the face of the franchise for a team currently going through a rebuild. Sure, it’s just two Summer League games into his tenure, but if he proved anything from his one season in Raleigh, it’s that this is no fluke.