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2017 NBA Draft: The Dennis Smith Jr. pipe dream

Dennis likely won’t be available at No. 12, but you just never know.

North Carolina State v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Are you guys ready for a Dennis Smith Jr. highlight viewing party?

Patience. You have to earn it.

The 19-year-old point guard out of North Carolina State is generally regarded as a top-10 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He averaged 18 points (35.9 percent from deep) and six assists in 34.8 minutes per game in one season at NC State. The team wasn’t very good (15-17 record), but it’s easy to recognize Dennis as a big time talent. Hence the highlight viewing party to come.

Long story short; if Dennis somehow falls all the way down to Detroit’s number 12 spot, then Detroit grabs him without a second thought.

But how likely is Dennis to fall down to Detroit?

Right now it looks pretty unlikely. But it’s not inconceivable for it to happen, as it’s a talented top 10 and obviously if a guy or two jumps into that top 10 then there’s going to be changes.


The Basketball Insiders writers all have Dennis going in the top eight.

Bleacher Report updated its predictions after the draft lottery and have Dennis at number five to the Kings (just a day before the draft lottery, Bleacher Report had Dennis at number 12 to Detroit).

Reid Forgrave at CBS Sports has Dennis at number eight to the Knicks (and Luke Kennard to the Pistons).

Draft Express also currently has Dennis going number eight to the Knicks.

Still over a month away from the draft and we know the mocks are largely just guess work at this point, though people like me just can’t look away.


(6) Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox

Probably LOCKS but still hesitation if you ask me

(3) Jonathan Isaac, Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith Jr.

The best of the rest to be picked around picks 10-12, you would think anyway

(729 give or take) Frank Ntilikina, Zach Collins, Justin Jackson, Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, John Collins, OG Anunoby, Luke Kennard, Terrance Ferguson, Hamidou Diallo, Marco Polo?

Essentially, the Pistons need guys like Zach Collins and a Donovan Mitchell to rise and actually jump into that top 10 or 11. It’s possible. Another helpful angle is a big surprise such as a Harry Giles going top 11 somehow.

It would be magnificent if the Knicks passed on Dennis at number eight, instead taking (you would think) Frank Ntilikina. Although the Mavericks are next at number nine and could simply take the best point guard available. Or they take the high upside forward Isaac. Then remember, it’s the Kings who are at number 10 — that means adventures. Finally, the Hornets are at number 11 and wouldn’t be out of their minds to take Zach Collins, would they (Kaminsky and Collins and Walker, oh my)? All this and I haven’t even brought up any trades other teams (or Detroit) might make.


I promised a Dennis Smith Jr. highlight party and I’ve kept you reading for far too long. On to the party!


If you wanted to experience an exceptional display of hops, then you’ve come to the right bar — the virtual DBB bar, that is.

Make no mistake about it, this isn’t top level competition Dennis is playing against in the immediate three clips, yet his subtle change of speed and awareness in making the simple play are on exhibit. He takes what the defense gives him.

Dennis can nail just about any kind of shot on a basketball court, which is both a blessing and a curse. The talk is that Dennis likes the one-on-one stuff a bit too much (sound familiar?). And settling for the long bombs. But, his talent often lets him off the hook. Will be entertaining and educational to see what he can and can’t get away with at the pro level. This selection of plays shows that when Dennis has it going on, he really has it going on.

Hesitation is big for Dennis’ dribble drive game. It’s kind of the same idea as I mentioned above with the subtle change of speed. BAM. Then there’s that burst. He’s also adept at shielding defenders from blocking his shot at the hole.

Dennis got them both and had time for another.

What did I say about taking what the defense gives you?


Let’s face it. Detroit at pick number 12 is never getting their hands on Dennis Smith Jr. unless he’s driving right past them on his way to the hoop for an easy bucket. But weird things do happen at the draft, so why not have that pipe dream become reality.