Dennis Smith Jr-PG-NC State
Size: 6’3 195lbs

Dennis Smith Jr


  • Athletic
  • Great burst/explosion
  • Absorbs contact well
  • Quick hands on defense
  • Natural scorer

Analysis: You can make a case for Dennis Smith Jr. being the best athlete in this years loaded draft class—and that is despite a torn ACL his senior year in high school. Smith is a demon in the open court, changing gears powerfully and being absolutely fearless slashing right to the front of the rim, where he can finish emphatically, or acrobatically off the glass. He has an excellent first step from a stand-still as well, getting low to the ground, and will often split ball-screens impressively, with a tight handle, excellent footwork, and the ability to take contact at the rim. Smith wasn’t especially efficient from the field (50% 2P%), but made up for that at the college level with his ability to get to the free throw line at a strong clip, a product of his aggressiveness with the ball, and he does a great job of inviting contact and getting to the free throw line frequently (6.9 free throw attempts per 40 minutes). He can fill it up from all three levels, which will bode well for him in a modern NBA with an abundance of scoring point guards. He does a good job of reading his defender off the pick and roll and has the ability to rise into a pull up jumper, where he gets great elevation. In addition he also frequently utilizes a lethal step back jumper when the guard is able to recover off the screen. His improved 3-point shot as his freshman season progressed shows scouts he still has yet to come close to his true potential. With that said, Smith still has plenty of work to do to become a more consistent floor general in terms of his mentality and decision-making. He is not very vocal on the floor in terms of his on-court leadership, and the chemistry and body language he demonstrated with teammates left a lot to be desired, especially as the season moved on.


  • More consistent jumper
  • Needs to become more willing passer
  • Scouts question leadership
  • Decision making
  • Focus
  • Can get lazy on the defensive end

Analysis: For as good of a scorer Dennis is, his shooting touch could use some work. Smith’s jump-shot is something NBA teams will want to scrutinize more closely in private settings, to get a better read on how it might translate to the pro level. On one hand, he improved his 3-point percentages this season, making 36% of his attempts, many of them coming while pulling off the dribble and from well beyond the NBA line. He is a shot-maker who you can’t necessarily go underneath screens on consistently with confidence, but was wildly inconsistent in this area as a freshman, having ten games in which he made between three to five three-pointers, and nine games in which he couldn’t connect on a single attempt. Scouts also have question marks about Smith’s defense, specifically the role he played in N.C. State ranking dead last in the ACC in this category. There’s no doubt that Smith has the physical tools to be very good on this end of the floor if he wants to be, with his strong frame, quick feet, and solid anticipation skills that allowed him to get in the passing lanes frequently. He’ll show you flashes of that at times, heating up the ball impressively, fighting over screens, and walling off penetration, but would never really sustain this for more than a few seconds at a time, relaxing in his stance as soon as the ball was swung the other way. He did not always seem to be on the same page with his teammates, which could be interpreted as a lack of leadership and scouts have come out and said they worry about his effort level and his lack of focus on the game of basketball.

NBA Comparison: Steve Francis

Draft Projection: Top 10 SchalkACCNBARecent Posts#NC State Wolfpack,Dennis Smith Jr,NBADennis Smith Jr-PG-NC State Size: 6'3 195lbs Strengths: Athletic Great burst/explosion Absorbs contact well Quick hands on defense Natural scorer Analysis: You can make a case for Dennis Smith Jr. being the best athlete in this...