Dennis Smith didn’t have to wait around to hear his name called too long Thursday night. He was taken with the No. 9 pick of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks and in the process became the highest NC State draftee since Tom Gugliotta was taken at No. 6 by the Washington Wizards in 1992.
Smith will no doubt have an immediate impact in the NBA next season, the question is just to what degree. He told the media this week that his goal is to win the rookie of the year award, and if there is an advantage to being drafted by a flawed team, it’s that playing time opportunities abound.
There’s going to be an adjustment phase for him on an number of levels; the most obvious is the increased degree of difficulty, but he’ll also probably have to live with being a secondary contributor at first. That is a relatively foreign concept for somebody like Dennis, who has been relied on to carry offenses since early in his high school career.
He’ll be fine, though. And the Mavericks are lucky to have him. They made a wise decision tonight.