NBA rookies are expecting big things from Dennis Smith Jr.
Dennis Smith Jr. may not be the most heralded player entering the NBA this year but his fellow rookies are expecting big things from him.
In this year’s NBA rookie survey of 39 first-year players, released Tuesday, 25.7% of players told NBA.com they think Smith will take home Rookie of the Year honors this season. The Mavs point guard, selected at No. 9, received 5.7% more votes than Lakers guard Lonzo Ball.
Smith also received 43.6% of the vote for the most athletic rookie, while Ball was a runaway favorite for the best playmaker in the class (71.% of the vote).
Ball and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum received the most votes when players were asked which member of the rookie class will end up having the best overall career.
Smith may have slipped to the bottom half of the lottery but he impressed many observers at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.
“Quick bursts have given his moves the edge they need without sacrificing control,” SI.com’s Rob Mahoney wrote. “Rarely are rookie speedsters so discerning, particularly when let loose on the first stage of their professional career.”
It’s obviously still way to early to pencil in Smith as Rookie of the Year, especially considering the rookies surveyed have missed on their pick for 10 years running.