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#9 - Dennis Smith Jr

24 Juin 2017

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With that pick, Chicago selected big man Lauri Markkanen.

Former N.C. State guard Dennis Smith Jr., who was drafted No. 9 overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association draft Thursday, said he's looking forward to learning how to play defense.

"That was put out a lot and we had a lot of things going on past year with our team", Smith said.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle came to the defense of Smith, too.

Carlisle talked about how Dallas never had Smith in for a workout because they simply never thought he would be available for them at nine.

Smith Jr. didn't lack confidence in the press conference.

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Speaking of board, when NY was on the clock and announced their pick of Frank Ntilikina, Carlisle acknowledged the celebration that took place in the war room. He also joked about having the highest chest bump of his life when celebrating with Dirk. He said the team was so impressed with Smith that they tried to move up in the draft to get him. "It's a great organization, (it's ) a great group of guys and (there are) a lot of Hall of Famers within this circle, so for them to go after me the way they did and respect my game the way that they do is a blessing".

Dallas has been in search of a franchise point guard for a long time, and hopes Smith will be that.

Smith has some concerns on the defensive side of the ball, as he tends to get side tracked at times there.

"We're excited. ... We know we got a kid here that's very motivated and has tremendous ability". He's got a 48-inch vertical leap and a lethal first step. This was the guy that we were after. So, I was thankful whenever I heard my name called by them.

"Dennis has gears like we haven't seen in a point guard (since I've been head coach) here", he said. With the three point guards selected ahead of him in the draft, it only added fuel to the fire of motivation.

Smith said it had always been a dream to be drafted.

On Thursday night, he learned his fate.

#9 - Dennis Smith Jr