Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has been vocal about the highs and lows of point guard dennis smith jr.’s performance throughout the 2017-18 NBA season. Needless to say, he was pleased with the rookie’s outing against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
Despite losing 97-104 to the Rockets, Carlisle feels Smith Jr. may have played his best game of the entire season, according to Earl K. Snead of Mavs.com:
Rick Carlisle says the Houston game was Dennis Smith Jr.’s “best game of the year playing with and without the ball.”
Carlisle’s praise comes with good reason considering the performance Smith Jr. had. He scored 16 points while dishing out a new career-high 11 assists. Furthermore, it seems his head coach was pleased was his activity off the ball as well.
Although it was not Smith Jr.’s most efficient night, his 7-for-18 shooting from the field is certainly a step in the right direction. Furthermore, he managed to hold his own against the star backcourt pairing of James Harden and Chris Paul. Big matchups like these have seemingly become Carlisle’s measuring tool for his young point guard.
It is no secret that the Western Conference is chalk-full of elite ballhandlers. That said, Dallas is going to need one of their own if they are to start their rebuild on the right foot. That said, the only step now for Smith Jr. is to start producing on a more consistent basis as the team’s orchestrater on offense. It goes without saying that some wins along the way would also certainly help boost their confidence moving forward.