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LeBron James says Dennis Smith Jr. should be a Knick

LeBron James, Dennis Smith Jr.

The New York Knicks picked what is presumably their point guard of the future in Frank Ntilikina during this year’s draft. But according to none other than Cleveland Cavs superstar LeBron James, the Knicks should’ve picked Dennis Smith Jr., who fell one pick later to the Dallas Mavericks, instead.

“The Knicks passed on a really good one. Dallas got the diamond in the rough. He should be a Knick.  That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. Dallas is definitely, I know they’re excited that he didn’t go there.”

Smith is having a strong rookie season thus far, averaging 14.8 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds. But he’s found a groove in November, putting up 19 points, 4.6 boards, and 4.4 assists per game. That includes a stat-stuffing performance against James and the Cavs on Saturday as he had 21 points, seven assists, five rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.

Ntilikina, who was selected by former Knicks president Phil Jackson due to his better fit in the triangle, hasn’t been nearly as spectacular as Smith, but he’s showing signs of his potential this month as well. He’s averaging 4.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.8 steals through the first six games of November.

It’s obviously way too early for James or anyone to say definitively whether or not the Knicks made the right decision by passing up on Smith. He has shown the potential for greatness, but he has already torn one ACL and could just as easily be the next Derrick Rose. The early signs he’s shown are promising, though, and the Mavs certainly aren’t complaining about New York’s decision.