The madness of March is kicking into gear, with most top NBA draft prospects playing in conference tournaments and, soon, the NCAA tournament.
Two notable exceptions: Markelle Fultz (freshman point guard for 9-22 Washington) and Dennis Smith Jr. (freshman point guard for 15-17 North Carolina State). Their seasons are finished, and Smith seems ready to move on.
Smith Jr. will declare for the draft, “There’s no question,” an N.C. State source told FanRagSports.com.
As Ben Simmons showed last year, NBA teams are willing to overlook a lack of college team success — as they should. There’s only so much a single player, especially a young one, can do.
Smith could be a top-five pick, though team need could factor. It’s a loaded draft for point guards with Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Smith, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Frank Ntilikina jockeying for position high in the lottery.
Smith uses his athleticism to attack the rim and creates passing lanes. From there, he has the leaping ability to finish and the court vision to find teammates.
His jumper is better than a liability, but it’s still a major question. So is Smith’s defense. North Carolina State was a mess on that end this season, and Smith will be challenged to prove he was a victim rather than than a cause.