Dennis Smith, Jr. started the season ranked second on Draft Express’s top 100 but his one year in college dissuaded people from the notion he belonged in the same tier as Markelle Fultz at the top of this draft.
On the surface, his individual performance withstood the higher level of competition, as he posted a decent-looking statistical profile with a 21.8 PER, averages of 20.8 points and 7.1 assists per 40 minutes, and a .520 effective field goal percentage on 27.2% usage.
But North Carolina State had a disastrous campaign – losing 17 of its 32 games and 14 out of 18 in the ACC, missing the NCAA Tournament. Smith got caught in the tire fire, lost some status and is now perceived as a second tier potential star – currently ranked seventh in Draft Express’s top 100.
Smith didn’t elevate his team’s level of play and has a lot to improve in terms of running a team, as he was rarely seen picking up the pace of the game or organizing his teammates in the half-court.
But he wasn’t surrounded by a lot of talent or put in a particularly dynamic structure that gave him a head start on his attempts to generate offense. Omer Yurtseven, who didn’t play very well in his first year in the United States, was his only NBA-caliber teammate and it was rare for him to give up the ball early in a possession then get it back later with the defense already bent. North Carolina State also didn’t shoot well enough from long range to open up driving lanes for him, as it ranked 212th in the country in three pointers made.
On the other end, things were a disaster and Smith shares a large part of the blame. As was the case in high school, he was constantly disengaged on defense and led a team in minutes that ranked 229th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency – according to kenpom.com.
(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)