Dennis Smith Jr. is proving he belongs with the Charlotte Hornets

Oct 29, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Dennis Smith Jr. (8) handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Dennis Smith Jr. (8) handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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From potentially out of the league to a cornerstone second fiddle in Charlotte, Smith has taken the wheel with steady hands and has shown zero signs of letting go. However, prior to landing in Charlotte, much to his despair, he was presented with trials and tribulations that caused turbulence to his basketball career and future in the league. The former ninth-overall pick, who was once compared to the likes of John Wall and Russell Westbrook, has already played for five NBA teams at age 24. After being drafted and traded by the Dallas Mavericks two years later as part of the famed Kristaps Porzingis deal, his tenure there didn’t last long. In 2021, he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for former MVP Derrick Rose before signing with the Blazers last offseason, where he appeared in 37 games for a team hoping to fall deep into the lottery and replenish the talent around Damian Lillard. Through five years in the league, Smith Jr. averaged 10.7 points on 31 percent three-point shooting to go with 2.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 steals, and 2.2 turnovers.