Assessing where Dennis Smith needs to improve for the Dallas Mavericks

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /
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Dallas Mavericks
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Dennis Smith Jr. needs to improve in multiple areas in order to be a long-term piece for the Dallas Mavericks and to dispel lingering trade rumors, but there is enough talent and salary cap value there to justify patience from Rick Carlisle and Donnie Nelson.

In the era of social media, it is almost impossible for people to hide things. Most people carry cameras on them via their phones, and they can instantly turn said photo into a tweet for thousands of people to see. Such a phenomenon has become commonplace in the modern world.

For professional athletes, this intensity is even higher and more prevalent. On Wednesday before their game against the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was “still sick.”

Unfortunately for Carlisle, previous social media interactions from that day showed that he was perhaps not being truthful. Smith was spotted by Mavericks fans having lunch earlier that day. Smith didn’t even try to hide it, telling his Twitter followers that it was nice to meet the fan. This was the high-point of a truly odd situation.

On Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon eased these concerns, suggesting that the Mavericks were confident they could patch things up with Smith. The report also suggested that the Mavs were going to do all they could to keep hold of him.

In reality though, there is a legitimate translation of this report that would offer a contrary opinion. One could interpret this as the Mavericks saying that they tried to trade Smith, but they couldn’t find the right offer, as opposed to them having a change of heart overnight. This is supported by a report from Tim Cato of The Athletic, who says Smith has been available in trade talks for months.

Now that Smith is potentially staying, trade pieces don’t make as much sense as they did previously. But it still makes sense to look at how he can improve, and how he needs to improve in order to be a key part of the Mavericks future.