Former ninth overall pick Dennis Smith Jr. was supposed to be the first real tangible return for the New York Knicks in the immensely impactful Kristaps Porzingis trade, executed at the end of last January.

Now that deal appears to be a dud for the Knicks, who are hard-pressed to find minutes for Smith Jr., even in their terrible point guard rotation. Smith is dealing with a strained left oblique at the moment; he missed three straight games last week and will miss his second consecutive contest when the Knicks face the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

Regardless of his health status, he is not a big part of New York's rotation, and rival teams “believe” Smith Jr. is looking for his next NBA pit stop after the Knicks. Another report leads us to believe the Minnesota Timberwolves could be a destination for the 22-year-old guard.

With Smith's future in jeopardy, where does the point guard fit in?

Detroit Pistons

Smith is still very much a work in progress. The third-year guard returned from a summer advertised as fixing his broken jump shot and free throw form. However, since the preseason, the former Dallas Mavericks lottery pick has looked indecisive and possibly losing a step in what was an explosive first burst driving to the rim.

Should the Pistons decide to tear it down—and trades for Blake Griffin and even Andre Drummond have made wavelengths across the NBA—taking a flyer on Dennis Smith Jr. would not be the worse idea. The point guard rotation in Motown is more or less composed of veterans Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose—both of whom could be candidates for rebuilding trades for assets by the Pistons. Bringing in Smith makes sense if head coach Dwane Casey and Detroit want the challenge of grooming an athletic, driving guard who hasn't found appropriate minutes or the right cast of teammates in the Big Apple.

Orlando Magic

Can lightning strike twice?

The Magic were lambasted for trading then-labeled bust in point guard Markelle Fultz—selected with the first overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the same draft class as Smith. However, since Fultz debuted during the 2019-20 season, the former Washington Huskie has looked nothing like his old self in Philly. Fultz's jump shot isn't his bread and butter (in fact, it never was), but he's shooting a very respectable 47.8% from the field, scoring in double figures a game, and firmly in Orlando's rotation, even starting in 24 out of his 29 appearances this season.

Some have even theorized that Fultz and Smith “Freaky Friday”ed their way into each other's respective campaigns.


Minnesota Timberwolves

Finally, back to where we started—the Timberwolves make sense for Smith irrespective of trade rumors swirling around the Knicks “monitoring” All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns' situation in the Twin Cities. The T-Wolves have a point guard corps made up of veteran Jeff Teague, who has struggled this year, and Shabazz Napier — even Andrew Wiggins has had to play minutes at the 1.

Smith, in his time with the Knicks, has built a nice rapport with sophomore center Mitchell Robinson, a perennial vertical threat. It's not out of the question that Smith could give a jolt of athleticism and lob threats to a Wolves team with Wiggins, Towns, Robert Covington, and rookie Jarrett Culver. Regardless, Minnesota, out of the playoffs and just treading water, needs to gamble on a point guard—whether Smith Jr. is the right choice or not is another question.