Dennis Smith Jr.
ESNY Graphic, Bruno Rouby

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. is predicting a big season for himself. Also, he was not shy when discussing his team’s potential.

Geoffrey Campbell

Dennis Smith Jr. did not mince words when discussing his goals for this upcoming season. Smith believes that he has what it takes to bring the New York Knicks back to the playoffs.

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Smith is confident that his improved shot combined with some of the team’s offseason signings will bring the orange and blue back to the postseason.

“I think we can hit the playoffs. Everybody do a lot of talking and things like that,” he said, “I’ve never really been one to feed into it on social media and things like that. But I think we have a really good team, and especially with the way I’ve been working this summer, I think I’m going to take my game to the next level and it’s going to put us in the playoffs.

“I wasn’t surprised, to be honest with you. People in the league talk anyway. They just keep it private. People in the league talk,” Smith said. “They’re great players but I like what we have, to be honest with you. I know there are a lot of hecklers out there and talking this that and the third. But I like what we have and I’m not really concerned with what’s going on in Brooklyn.”

The third-year man out of North Carolina State is not short on confidence. But in order to deliver on his lofty goals, Smith will need to make numerous improvements to his game. Last season, Smith shot a ghastly 32 percent from three-point range and 63 percent from the line.

However, Smith did improve his percentage in two-point shots, increasing his efficiency from 43 percent to 47 percent. At 21 years of age, and with loads of talent, the Knicks are banking on Smith’s development.

Using Synergy Sports stats, Smith ranks within the 33rd percentile in catch and shoot attempts in the half-court and within the 61st percentile in shooting off the dribble. As a floor general, Knicks fans will definitely be keeping an eye on Smith’s efficiency in the half-court and in transition.

Currently, in regards to points-per-possession, Smith ranks within the 12th percentile in transition and within the 16th percentile in the half-court. Simply put, that won’t cut it.

Thus far, although nothing is set in stone, Smith appears to be the starting point guard on the depth chart. Yet with new signing Elfrid Payton, and a crowded backcourt, Smith will have to make a prolonged impression on head coach David Fizdale.

Fizdale came into New York and proclaimed that he would get Emmanuel Mudiay “right.” Yet it may be Smith that proves to be his biggest reclamation project and ultimately one of the more important players for the Knicks.

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