Dennis Smith Jr., the guardian of the New York Knicks, has asked to be sent to the team’s G League partner for game time, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
Smith Jr. was drafted to ninth overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 2017 – but was later traded as the centerpiece of the Kristaps Porzingis deal.
Smith Jr. showed lightning-fast elite athletics and considerable potential early on.
But now, in its fourth season outside the state of North Carolina, the 6-foot-2 security guard couldn’t play a role for himself in the Big Apple.
Last season, Smith Jr. averaged career lows in shooting percentages, points, rebounds and assists. So far this year he has only averaged 3.0 points, 0.7 rebounds and one assist.
Smith Jr.’s request to be sent to the G League is a remarkably mature move for a young player.
This is the final season of Smith Jr.’s current deal – and from today’s perspective, he probably won’t get many offers from NBA teams next season.
If Smith Jr. goes to the G League, he will have an opportunity to prove that he can play against the elite.
More importantly, Smith Jr. can prove he is ready to do anything to play competitive basketball.