Dennis Smith Jr.s NBA summer league debut worth the wait

The former NC State star lived up to his hype Saturday by posting 14 points, seven rebounds six assists and only one turnover in leading his the Dallas Mavericks to a 91-75 blowout of the Chicago Bulls

Joe Camporeale—USA Today Sports
Former Duke star Jayson Tatum beats three Los Angeles Lakers to the basket to score for the Boston Celtics during Saturday's NBA Las Vegas Summer League game

The Dallas Mavericks held their top draft pick, Dennis Smith Jr., out of the NBA’s Orlando Summer League last week so that he could concentrate on the more competitive, higher profile Las Vegas Summer League tournament. His professional debut Saturday was worth the wait. The one-and-done former NC State point guard lived up to his hype by posting 14 points, seven rebounds six assists and only one turnover in leading his the Mavs to a 91-75 blowout of the Chicago Bulls. Smith had some trouble shooting from distance, going just 1 of 6 from 3-point range, but he was on top of his game otherwise in a successful introduction to the professional game. In contrast to Smith, Duke’s Jayson Tatum did get his feet wet by playing in an earlier tournament. The third player taken in last month’s draft picked up in Las Vegas right where he left off in last week’s Salt Lake City event by posting his third straight double-double for the Boston Celtics in their 86-81 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. Although Tatum’s performance will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the triple double posted by the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball, his effort was impressive nonetheless with 27 points, 11 rebounds and a blocked shot. Duke’s Brandon Ingram, who scored 26 for the Lakers in their summer opener on Friday, didn’t play Saturday. Elsewhere in Vegas, it was another good day for former UNC big man Kennedy Meeks, who made the most of his nine minutes of playing time for the Toronto Raptors by scoring 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting (including a 3-pointer) while pulling down four rebounds in a 97-72 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Another undrafted free agent, Davidson’s Jack Gibbs, also did a lot in just a little time on the court in the game by scoring 17 points in 19 minutes for Minnesota while UNC’s Marcus Paige had a strong shooting night while going 3 for 6 from 3-point range on his way to 18 points. The two other state college players on the Timberwolves’ roster didn’t fare as well, with NC State’s C.J. Williams scoring three points and Duke’s Amile Jefferson limited to a single basket to go along with four rebounds. UNC’s Tony Bradley scored 10 points for the Utah Jazz in its 72-63 loss to the Portland Trailblazers while Campbell’s Eric Griffin added two points, six rebounds, three steals and four blocked shots in the losing effort. The only local player in either of the night’s final two games was Duke’s Matt Jones, who scored seven points for the Houston Rockets in their overtime loss to Cleveland in his first tournament appearance.Here are the cumulative stats for all state players participating in Las Vegas:Jayson Tatum, Duke (Celtics): 1 game, 27.0 ppg, 9-19 FG, 1-1 3PT, 8-8 FT, 11.0 rpgBrandon Ingram, Duke (Lakers): 1 G, 26.0 ppg, 9-17 FG, 1-4 3PT, 7-8 FT, 3.0 apg, 3.0 spgBrice Johnson, UNC (Clippers): 1 G, 23.0 ppg, 10-15 FG, 3-3 FT, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 2.0 spgJustin Jackson, UNC (Kings): 1 G, 18.0 ppg, 7-11 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-3 FT, 2.0 rpgMarcus Paige, UNC (T-wolves): 1 G, 18.0 ppg, 5-12 FG, 3-6 3PT, 5-5 FT, 2.0 spgJack Gibbs, Davidson (T-wolves): 1 G, 17.0 ppg, 7-12 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2.0 rpgQuinn Cook, Duke (Pelicans): 1 G, 16.0 ppg, 7-13 FG, 2-2 3PT, 3.0 apg, 3.0 spgDennis Smith, NC State (Mavericks) 1 G, 14.0 ppg, 5-12 FG, 1-6 3PT, 3-3 FT, 7.0 rpg, 6.0 aptKennedy Meeks, UNC (Raptors): 2 G, 13.5 ppg, 12-20 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-4 FT, 6.5 rpgKendall Marshall, UNC (Clippers): 1 G, 11.0 ppg, 2-3 FG, 1-1 3PT, 6-7 FT, 2.0 rpg, 11.0 apgTony Bradley, UNC (Jazz): 1 G, 10.0 ppg, 5-9 FG, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apgJohn Collins, Wake Forest (Hawks): 1 G, 8.0 ppg, 2-4 FG, 4-5 FT, 11.0 rpg, 2.0 spgIsaiah Hicks, UNC (Clippers): 1 G, 7.0 ppg, 2-5 FG, 3-4 FT, 4.0 rpgMatt Jones, Duke (Rockets): 1 G, 7.0 ppg, 1-4 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-5 FT, 2.0 rpgC.J. Williams, NC State (T-wolves): 1 G, 3.0 ppg, 1-6 FG, 0-4 3PT, 1-2 FT, 1.0 rpgEric Griffin, Campbell (Jazz): 1 G, 2.0 ppg, 1-2 FG, 6.0 rpg, 3.0 spg, 4.0 bpgAmile Jefferson, Duke (T-wolves): 1 G, 2.0 ppg, 1-4 FG, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 spgScott Wood, NC State (Celtics): 1 G, 0.0 ppg, 0-0 FG