A Fayetteville, North Carolina native, Smith Jr. enjoyed a sensational freshman season with the NC State Wolfpack before entering the 2017 NBA draft. In his lone season in Raleigh, Smith Jr. averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals and shot 36% from three-point range on the way to being named the ACC Rookie of the Year.
After being selected 9th overall by the Dallas Mavericks, Smith Jr. had a successful rookie campaign that culminated in being named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. As the Mavericks’ starting point guard, Smith Jr. was second on the team in both points and assists.
However, his rookie campaign has been the apex of his professional career to date. Smith Jr.’s second season saw him being traded to the New York Knicks, and he has yet to find a stable landing spot ever since. After stints with the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers, the North Carolina native now returns to his home state franchise in hopes of reviving his NBA career.
What does the Dennis Smith Jr. signing mean for the Charlotte Hornets?
Smith Jr. now becomes a clear candidate to fill the backup point guard spot that many expected to be filled by either Isaiah Thomas or Kemba Walker. While Smith Jr. clearly lacks the accolades and clout of either Thomas or Walker, he has been an effective defender at times and could still have unrealized potential. Still just 24 years old, Smith Jr. could prove to be a solid buy-low reclamation project.
With Smith Jr. signing, the Hornets now have one remaining spot on their 20-man offseason roster That spot is likely to remain open as the team awaits further development in the legal situation of Miles Bridges.