Dennis Smith Jr. had poster of Chris Paul in his room as a kid
Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been a revelation as a rookie. He’s averaging 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists as one of the few bright spots for the struggling Mavs, while his freakish athleticism has led many comparisons to a young Derrick Rose.
However, Smith tells NBA.com’s David Aldridge that he looked up to another star point guard when he was growing up.
“I had a Chris Paul poster hanging up in my room. I just like how he played. He did everything. He did a little bit of everything. This is when he was on the Hornets. I think I was in fifth or sixth grade. He did everything when he was on the Hornets. They had a battle with the Spurs in the playoffs, and watching that, I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be at that level when I got older. I was a superfan.”
While he’s still a tremendous point guard even to this day, young Chris Paul — before knee injuries sapped away most of his athleticism — was an absolute marvel of a point guard. Aside from expertly orchestrating his team’s offense, he was also a two-way beast, capable of taking over on both ends of the court.
Smith still has a long way to go before being close to Paul’s level, particularly on the defensive end. However, he has so much more sheer physical tools to work with than CP3 — and if he can properly utilize them all, he definitely has a shot at superstardom.