Luka Dončić Forced Dennis Smith Jr.’s Swift Rise And Fall In Dallas 

When he moves on, Smith Jr has an entire career in front of him to prove that Dallas is making a mistake by shopping him around.

Dennis Smith Jr. burst onto the NBA scene in 2017 as a rookie with the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 15.2 points and more than 5 assists per game as his high-flying dunks and super speed captivated an otherwise dreary basketball atmosphere.

Fans started anointing him as the guy who would take the franchise from Dirk Nowitzki when the legend retires.

The future was bright, but the losses kept piling up, putting Dallas in a position to move up and draft Luka Dončić in the 2018 Draft.

With Dončić’s rapid rise to superstardom, Smith has become the forgotten son.

Dončić is posting Michael Jordan-type rookie numbers.

He’s a new, white, international superstar whose presence is feeding a hunger that certain NBA fans have had for years, making Smith’s long-term future with the team much less important.

Chemistry and expandability are the keywords in this situation. Both players are dynamic and ball-controllers in the sense that they need the rock to flourish and be creative. In other words, their styles are clashing.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is giving the people what they want and has given most of the ball-handling responsibilities to Dončić, which has limited Smith Jr to spot shooting and taken away his sizzle.

Smith has sat out the past three games with a stated back issue, but that’s most likely due to the Mavericks being cautious as they try to unload him. There’s not too many teams that need a ball-dominant guard that’s explosive but inconsistent with his jumper, but that doesn’t change the fact that Smith can ball for sure.

Early reports have the backcourt-strapped Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic interested in his services.

The Suns could pair him with Devin Booker and get something cracking. The Magic currently have 31-year-old journeyman, DJ Augustin, holding down the point guard position for them. Smith would fit perfectly with both of those teams as they are still adding pieces through the draft and in the early stages of competitive development.

When he moves on, Smith has an entire career in front of him to prove that Dallas is making a mistake by shopping him.

He can do what James Harden —  who dropped 57 last night and surpassed Kobe Bryant’s streak of 16 consecutive 30-point games (2003) — did after OKC though that he was the weakest link.

Use it as motivation to become the best hardwood warrior in the league, an MVP. Smith Jr. should make Dallas pay every single time he laces it up against them. Smith Jr. is a baby in this game. He’s just 21 years old with a bright future, but if he wants to be a “franchise player” he’s not going to be able to do it in Dončić’s Dallas.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.