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August 10th, 2017

Mavs’ Donnie Nelson Says Dennis Smith Jr. Must Earn Starting Point Guard Job

Honi Ahmadian @HoniAhm
Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith Jr. will have to prove himself in camp (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Expectations are starting to soar for Dallas Mavericks’ rookie Dennis Smith, Jr. Although selected ninth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, Smith’s boundless athleticism has already made him a fan favorite as a potential superstar in the making, earning him an endorsement deal with Under Armour.

Regardless of the hype, however, Smith will have to earn his stripes in the NBA. According to team president Donnie Nelson, the Mavs are not interested in gifting Smith any sort of role, instead hoping he can earn it.

Following via Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com:

“Those keys are earned. You know, it’s going to be an interesting training camp. I think Dennis is going to play for one of the best coaches in the NBA. That being said, I think internally you can’t help but be excited by the potential, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Just knowing the character of Dennis and knowing his family and surrounding structure, he’s going to want to earn those minutes. He’s truly a winner in every sense of the word.”

The Mavs have quite a few point guards who can shoulder the load until Smith is ready, although none are true stars or even consistent starters. The likes of Seth Curry, Yogi Ferrell, JJ Barea, and Devin Harris will all receive minutes in the backcourt.

Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle has been notorious for being a micromanager with point guards so it should be expected that DSJ will have rough patches that get him benched. But coming along slowly with plenty of veteran help around him should do wonders for his development all the same.

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