Dennis Smith Jr. has a breakout season
Consistent point guard play has plagued the Knicks for years, and the team has struggled to find a solution to the shortcomings of that position. However, the Knicks acquired Dennis Smith Jr. in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, and they now have a player with the potential to solve their point guard woes.
The 21-year-old is far from perfect and has yet to prove himself as a legitimate starting point guard. Smith averaged 14.7 points and 5.4 assists per game with the Knicks last season and has flashed the potential to be the franchise’s face at point guard.
However, Smith has a long way to go to achieve that height. Shooting continues to be his greatest weakness as he shot a woeful 41.3 percent from the field and 28.9 percent from three. Smith has also proven to be quite inconsistent and struggles on the defensive side of the ball.
At age 21, Smith has the time and ability to improve upon his weaknesses this offseason, and with him entering his third season, he could be a candidate to break out. Smith has been working out with coach David Fizdale in Las Vegas and has been working with assistant coach Keith Smart on his jump shot. According to Smith, he sees a vast improvement in his shot and that he is ready to take the next step for the Knicks.
If New York wants to compete for the playoffs they will need Smith to solidify himself as the starting point guard and have a season where he can truly be an impact player. With his combination of athleticism and raw talent, he is a tough cover for any NBA defender, and if he works on his jump shot and efficiency, he can be a serious threat on offense.
He has the talent and skills to be an elite scorer, and if he can prove to be a legitimate all-around threat on offense, that will open up space for his teammates, allowing Smith to be the playmaker New York needs.
The Knicks lack a lead guard and someone who can truly take over the offense. Dennis Smith Jr. has the potential to be that for New York if he can take the next step.