Detroit Pistons: Getting to know Dennis Smith Jr’s skillset.
Despite his injuries, Smith still is a tremendous athlete with great quickness and the ability to jump out of the gym. Similar to Rose, Smith excels at getting to the rim with his natural gifts.
Once he gets to the rim, he is fearless and will try to dunk on anyone and everyone. Despite his tools, Smith still struggles to score efficiently at the rim. Last season, he shot only 54% within 3 feet of the rim, and at best shot 61% within 3 feet during his rookie year.
For context, last year, Rose shot 67% near the rim. For someone, whose game is built around his athleticism and ability to get to the hoop, Smith must convert at least 60% of his looks to be a long term usable rotation player.
Also, Smith must improve his outside shooting. Smith is a capable shooter, but he has been inconsistent with a career 31% three-point percentage.
There is hope for Smith from deep as he shot 34% in 32 games from the Mavericks before being traded and 36% in college. If Smith can just get to 33%, this will help open up easier drives for him. On the flip side, if he shoots well at the rim, it will make defenders sag off him, and create more open looks for him.
Defensively, Smith isn’t a lockdown defender by any means, but that is not from a lack of trying. He consistently plays hard and is able to use his long wingspan and quickness to pester opposing point guards.
He will need to improve his rotations and team defense as a whole to become a true positive on that end, but with his athleticism and tenacity, he will cause issues for opposing teams.