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Dennis Smith Jr. eyeing matchup with childhood idol Chris Paul

Dennis Smith Jr.

Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. looked up to Chris Paul as a kid. He even had a poster of CP3 in his childhood room. The two have yet to meet in the NBA after both missed the first matchup between the Mavs and the Houston Rockets earlier in the season.

But when NBA.com’s David Aldridge asked Smith what it’d be like to play against his childhood hero, Smith was excited by the very prospect.

“It’s go time. It’s go time. That’s the only way to earn his respect, is to go out and compete. That’s what I plan on doing.”

Smith has definitely earned a lot of respect from many around the league for his fine play early on, with LeBron James one of his most notable admirers. Smith is averaging 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists, including an impressive line of 21 points, five rebounds, seven assists, two blocks, and two steals against James and the Cavs.

While Paul is nearing his return from a knee injury, Smith will have to wait until Jan. 24 for his next chance to face his childhood hero. Maybe by that time, Smith will have blossomed even more with the added playing time and will be more prepared to earn Paul’s respect.