The Charlotte Hornets have signed 2017 9th overall pick Dennis Smith junior to a one-year deal according to Shams Charania. Smith is a North Carolina native, growing up in Fayetteville and playing his college basketball at NC State.
Smith Jr last played with the Portland Trail Blazers in the 21-22 season before being waived in February after suffering a right elbow injury. Despite the injury not being career ending, the Blazers decided not to keep Smith Jr as they embraced a rebuilding season playing young players.
This news comes as somewhat of a shock with most fans expecting Isaiah Thomas or Kemba Walker to be the eventual back-up point guard signing. Smith hasn't held down a regular rotation spot since his rookie season in 2017/18 where in 30 minutees as game as a starter he averaged 15pts 4reb 5ast. Since then Smith has struggled to hold even a back-up role, he's come off the bench for Dallas, New York, Detroit and Portland but has often been out the rotation.
Smith is still only 24 years old, he is a stellar athlete and has show to be a high effort defender at times, he still has some untapped potential. However, his poor shot selection, broken jump shot and inability to run an effective offense has led to him being on the fringes of the NBA. It wouldn't shock me if Smith Jr's contract is non-guaranteed and there are other ball handling options in training camp battling it out for the back-up ball handler spot. Smith Jr's lack of shooting could limit his role in the rotation. In the modern NBA having two non-shooters on the floor is a challenge and it's fair to say Charlotte's center options all suffer from their own shooting limitations outside of PJ Washington.
If you're not familiar with Smith Jr's game and you're a glass half full kind of person I suggest you check out his rookie highlights: