Chris Paul calls Dennis Smith Jr. “special” and claims he’s happy that he was traded to the New York Knicks last year.
Chris Paul just found out he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, yet he finds the time to praise another ballplayer on the east coast.
“Dennis is special, special,” Paul said, via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “I think being here with Fiz, getting an opportunity to play, getting up and down, I was happy for him when he got traded to the Knicks last year because he got that New York grind in him.
“We were just talking about how as you learn the game more and more, it slows down for you. I think with Dennis, everything is confidence. Having Fiz backing him, and his teammates and all that, if he gets the city of New York behind him — you should have seen all of North Carolina behind him. He’s got it.”
Smith Jr., 21, has been working out with Paul in Las Vegas (during the bulk of the NBA Summer League action).
Paul feels he’s the perfect basketball mind to help mold DSJ moving forward.
In 18 games with the Knickerbockers this past season, Smith Jr. put up 14.7 points, 5.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest.
The area that’ll need to improve greatly in his third season is efficiency. DSJ shot just .413 from the floor with the Knicks and currently holds a porous mark of .407 during his young career.
The good news for the NC State product is another veteran is coming. The recently-signed Marcus Morris is coming to help guide the squad full of youngsters such as RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, and, of course, Dennis Smith Jr.