LeBron James Says Dennis Smith Jr. Should Be on Knicks; NY Passed on PG in Draft

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2017

Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr., right, shoots near New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Mike Stone)
Mike Stone/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James told reporters Saturday that the Dallas Mavericks should be thrilled they were able to land Dennis Smith Jr. in the 2017 NBA draft.

"The [New York] Knicks passed on a really good one," James said after the Cavaliers' 111-104 win at American Airlines Center, per the Dallas Morning News' Brad Townsend. "Dallas got the diamond in the rough. He should be a Knick. That's going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. ...

"He's an unbelievable talent. Athleticism. He's very poised to be his age. Can shoot the ball, can penetrate. He's only going to get better and better with the opportunities that he's given here to play. Dallas got a good one."

James isn't kidding.

Although Smith is only 11 games into his career, he's looked the part of a franchise point guard—especially since the start of the month.

In five November appearances, Smith is averaging 19.0 points, 4.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals.

He helped bolster those totals with 21 points, seven dimes, five boards, two blocks and a pair of steals while shooting 8-of-16 from the field against the Cavaliers.

The Knicks, meanwhile, opted for French floor general Frank Ntilikina over Smith at No. 8 overall.

Through 10 games, Ntilikina is averaging 4.4 points, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 34.0 percent from the field. That said, Ntilikina currently leads his squad in net rating, with the Knicks outscoring opponents by 6.2 points per 100 possessions when he's been on the floor.

After the Knicks defeated the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night, Enes Kanter defended his teammate on Twitter:

Conversely, the Mavericks have been outscored by 12.1 points per 100 possessions with Smith on the floor thus far.

     

Stats courtesy of NBA.com.

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