Mavs Could Roll the Dice on Former Lottery Pick as Jalen Brunson Replacement

Dallas Mavericks, Mike Conley


Dennis Smith Jr. #10 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles.

Heading into this season, one of the major questions for the Dallas Mavericks will be how they fill the void of Jalen Brunson. Following a breakout season in 2022, the former second-round pick departed for New York in free agency.

With the return of Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas is confident they can replace the backcourt production next to Luka Doncic. However, they could use their extra roster spot to solidify their guard depth by reuniting with a familiar face.

During his most recent news dump, NBA insider Marc Stein reported on the Mavericks’ backcourt plans. Among the possible free agent targets mentioned was Dennis Smith Jr.

The Mavericks could opt for the latter and go to training camp pledging to give the likes of Frank Ntilikina, Josh Green and recent two-way signee Tyler Dorsey (Giannis Antetokounmpo’s co-star with Greece at this EuroBasket) first crack at seizing the minutes available behind Dončić and Spencer Dinwiddie. Available backcourt free agents for Dallas to consider include Eric Bledsoe, Facundo Campazzo, Elfrid Payton, former Mavericks draftee Dennis Smith Jr. and Schröder.

Smith Jr. played in 101 games for the Mavericks after being taken ninth overall back in 2017. In that time, he averaged 14.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 4.9 APG. The 24-year-old most recently played for the Portland Trail Blazers, where he appeared in 37 games last season.

Dennis Smith Jr. Shows Out Against NBA Talent

In hopes of landing on an NBA roster this upcoming season, Smith Jr. has been hard at work this summer sharpening his skills. The former lottery pick was recently spotted at an open run where he showed out against multiple current NBA players. Among the most notable going against him was Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell.

The three-time All-Star was recently dealt to Cleveland in a blockbuster trade that saw potential Mavs trade target Collin Sexton get sent to the Utah Jazz.

Taking a Chance on Tyler Dorsey

If the Mavericks wanted to keep their roster flexibility, they could take a chance on one of their more quiet offseason additions.

After being out of the NBA for a few years, the Dallas Mavericks signed guard Tyler Dorsey to a two-way contract. The 26-year-old guard was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks in 2017. In his most recent NBA stint, Dorsey averaged 9.8 PPG and 1.9 APG in 21 games for the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2018-19 season. 

During the time away from the league, Dorsey went overseas to improve his game. He most recently played for Olympiacos in the Greek Basket League, where he averaged 11.0 PPG and 1.9 APG. 

Dorsey has spent the summer playing for the Greek national team in EuroBasket, and his stellar play is getting Mavs fans excited for this season.

At six-foot-five, Dorsey is capable of getting his shot off against most guards matched up on him. Judging by how he’s performed for Greece, the young guard looks ready to make the most of his newest NBA opportunity.

With Brunson gone, the Mavericks will need guards who can come in and create offense. If Dorsey is given a chance following his strong play this summer, he might see his contract get converted to an NBA deal.

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Matt Lucas

Writer by day and an aspiring Artist by night. Creative thinking is what I'm all about. Lottos are one of my passions and I'm happy to be contributing to Lottery Papa News

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