Dirk Nowitzki says Dennis Smith Jr. is ‘more explosive than last year’
As Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki enters the tail end of his illustrious career, he’s probably thinking who to pass the title of franchise player to. After 20 years as the face of the organization, filling his shoes is not going to be an easy task.
Still, the Mavs have done a great job of accumulating young assets who can take on this daunting task. First, they signed former Golden State Warrior Harrison Barnes to a multi-year max contract to be their starting small forward. Most recently, they cooked up a draft night trade with the Atlanta Hawks to acquire the services of Luka Doncic.
But the player with arguably the highest chance to become their star player is none other than Dennis Smith Jr., who has long been compared to Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. He possesses the strength, speed, and athleticism to keep up with the elite points guard in the NBA.
In his lone season as a pro, Smith averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.0 steal per game with countless highlight-reel dunks to boot. He has also taken this offseason to work on different aspects of his game, particularly on jumping to the basket.
Several members of the team have seen a change, particularly Nowitzki, who has said the young guard looks more explosive now, as reported by 105.3 FM The Fan.
— 105.3 The FAN (@1053thefan) September 11, 2018
Mavs fans all around the world are hoping his strong summer will carry over into the regular season, as they look to capture a playoff spot in the West. Smith Jr., who is a major component in their system, will likewise look to shift to a higher gear.
His explosiveness is also a key ingredient in his playing style so improving this should carry over to other aspects of his game. If all things go as planned, the Dallas Mavericks are going to be one of the most exciting teams to watch next season.