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Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle: ‘I would project Dennis Smith as a starter’

Welcome to the party, pal.

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Smith Jr. is the newest point guard in Dallas, and after the team made its first-round pick, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was not dodgy and he did not mince words: he expects DSJ to be his starting PG as a rookie.

“We’re getting a guy that is an instant-impact guy. We didn’t have him in for a workout because it just didn’t seem he would fall to us,” Carlisle said. “He’s O.K.G.: he’s our kind of guy. I would project him as a starter, but he’s going to have to earn it, and he understands that.”

Being a lottery pick means dealing with high expectations, and those are being set right from day one by Dallas, which finished 11th in the West and 16 games under .500 last season. It’s clear the Mavericks are big fans of DSJ’s ability to create offense and it looks like he’ll have the opportunity to be an impact player right from the start.

Rebuilding means that you can grow with your young players as they make mistakes and learn from them; DSJ is bound to make an error or 50 as he gets thrown into the fire, but as Carlisle notes, Smith’s athleticism and play-making ability warrant the task.

It’s not going to be pretty all the time, but you can also bet Dennis Smith puts a few dudes on a poster this season.