Different former Wolfpack star leads Mavs in NBA Summer League opener

With first round pick Dennis Smith Jr. held out of action, Cat Barber picked up the slack for the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday with a performance that could help his chances of making a regular season roster

The Dallas Mavericks decided to hold their first round draft pick, NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr., out of the NBA’s Orlando Summer League. So instead, they turned to another former Wolfpack point guard to lead their team in Sunday’s tournament opener. Cat Barber scored 14 points and handed out five assists in 31 minutes of playing time to help the Mavericks’ team of rookies and free agents to an 80-75 victory against the New York Knicks. Barber made five of his 10 field goal attempts, including both 3-pointers, while pulling down six rebounds in a performance that won’t hurt his effort to earn a spot on an NBA roster next season. The highlight of Barber’s performance was a 3-point heave as he was falling out of bounds as the third quarter buzzer sounded. Duke graduate Marshall Plumlee, who split his rookie season between the Knicks and their D-League affiliate, also had a strong performance in a losing effort with eight points on 4 of 5 shooting, five rebounds and three blocked shots. In another Orlando Summer League game, first round draft pick Luke Kennard of Duke showed off his long-range shooting ability by hitting four of his six 3-pointers on the way to 16 points in his professional debut with the Detroit Pistons. Former NC State point guard Lorenzo Brown added 10 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Pistons, who squandered a 14-point lead on the way to a 92-91 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige went 3 of 4 from the floor and 2 for 2 from beyond the 3-point arc while scoring 10 points for the winning Thunder. The Knicks and the Pistons will play one another at 1 p.m. Sunday on the second day of the week-long Orlando event. The Mavericks and Thunder are both off until Monday.