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Mavs could trade Dennis Smith Jr. if he doesn’t develop quickly

The Dallas Mavericks have developed much faster than anticipated after drafting EuroLeague superstar Luka Doncic this summer, putting the pressure on Mavs point guard Dennis Smith Jr. to keep pace and fit into Rick Carlisle’s offense as they sail towards a competitive future.

According to Tim Cato of The Athletic, the second-year point guard could have three different outcomes to his future but one of them is the potential of being traded before his impending rookie contract extension, especially with Doncic quickly showing he’s the true all-around superstar that can become the face of the franchise.

“Strictly speaking from a value perspective, Dallas has the most to gain from Smith taking another step as a player while on their roster, rather than dealing him and his unrealized potential elsewhere. But again, that could eventually be Smith’s future. If he increasingly looks like an unnatural fit next to Doncic, or if his timeline still doesn’t mesh with Dallas’ accelerated one then the Mavericks may have no choice but to deal him. Doncic is 19, and the timeline doesn’t need to be accelerated, but it seems very clear that the people on top this team want to win again, and soon. If Smith doesn’t develop quick enough, then it might be in his best interests to find a team that won’t rush or suppress him, too.”

Smith is a player that needs the ball in his hands to generate offense, regardless of which of the two guard positions he’s slotted into. His catch-and-shoot ability is subpar, as it’s his ability to play off the ball and find his spots on the floor. Furthermore, Smith struggles in matchups against agile wings, often outmatched at 6-foot-3 with a body that is still developing into its true NBA form.

The Mavs would like to keep both of their draft selections, but they will soon have to make a house call as to who to center their franchise around and signs are leaning toward the EuroLeague MVP, who has shown this to be a relatively easy transition into the NBA game.