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Dennis Smith Jr. now more confident in his shooting, says Knicks assistant coach

Dennis Smith Jr., Knicks

New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has hardly projected to be a knockdown three-point shooter through his first two seasons in the NBA.

Smith Jr. is shooting just under 32 percent from beyond the arc, and he shot below 30 percent from deep upon moving to New York last season. Despite his early struggles, however, it appears that Smith Jr. has already put a lot of work into his shooting.

Knicks assistant coach Keith Smart told Marc Berman of the New York Post that he has worked with DSJ in New York and Las Vegas, and that Smith Jr.’s confidence in his shot is growing:

“We did it slowly,’’ Smart said. “But the big thing is he had to get the confidence to believe in it. And as we did it, he got more confidence in his shooting. Before you knew it, we were right on track. The only piece missing is live competition when he gets into a real game and puts it all together.’’

Smith Jr. was the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, and was the headline acquisition in the deal that sent former Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks. New York had hoped that his incredible athleticism and charisma might help them attract marquee free agents this summer, but they had to settle for guys such as Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Elfrid Payton.

New York will counting on Smith Jr. to take the next step in his development while anchoring the backcourt alongside top draft choice R.J. Barrett.