Dennis Smith Jr. didn’t have a ton of personal or team success during his stint as a Knick from 2019-21, but he said on Wednesday that the adversity he experienced in New York “helped me grow as a person,” as Zach Braziller of The New York Post relays.
“Without going though what I went through, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’m thankful for that whole time I was here, the good and the bad,” Smith said before his new team, the Hornets, faced the Knicks. “The thing I learned is nobody gave me my happiness or my job, so I can’t let anybody steal it. I came in, found something to be grateful for every day, and I started to make the most of every situation I was in. That really prepared me for where I’m at now.”
A free agent for most of the 2022 offseason, Smith said he told his agent he wasn’t interested in playing overseas and indicated that he mulled the possibility of trying to compete for a spot in the NFL as a defensive back, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
Smith ultimately landed in Charlotte, and while his deal with the Hornets remains non-guaranteed, he has played well in LaMelo Ball‘s absence, including registering 14 points and 11 assists against his old team in New York on Wednesday. Head coach Steve Clifford likes what he has seen so far from the former lottery pick.
“His defense is just, I mean, it’s terrific,” Clifford said, according to Braziller. “His individual defense, his pick-and-roll defense, his team defense. He’s competing at an incredibly high level at that end of the floor. Some guys figure it out late, some guys figure it out right away. He’s a talented guy. Even though with the injuries he’s not the athlete he was, but he’s still a really good athlete even for this league. I don’t see that he’s doing anything that he can’t continue to do, frankly.”
Here’s more from around the Southeast:
- After signing a record-setting $251MM contract in the offseason, star guard Bradley Beal is now trying to lead his teammates by example, especially on the defensive end, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The 3-1 Wizards have a top-five defense in the NBA early on in the 2022/23 season. “I know that … if I’m engaged and locked in and energetic and ready to go on the defensive end, that speaks volumes to the rest of the team, and everybody else follows suit,” Beal said. “We almost have a saying: ‘If Brad can do it, everybody can do it.’ So if I can get down in a stance and get after it, everybody can. It’s something that we hold each other accountable to do, starting with me.”
- Having appeared briefly in the Heat‘s Wednesday victory in Portland, veteran big man Udonis Haslem has now officially played in 20 NBA seasons, fulfilling a vow he made to his late father. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel has the story and the quotes from Haslem.
- In a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Magic forward Franz Wagner spoke about his long-term goals, his early impressions of No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, and getting to play with brother Moritz Wagner in Orlando.
11 thoughts on “Southeast Notes: DSJ, Beal, Haslem, F. Wagner”
I def expect that top5 Wizards defense to suffer from Delon Wrights absence. They’ve been pretty impressive across the board so far tho… decision making was always DSJ’s weakness & that’s not great for a pg. I see his decision making is still questionable if he was talking about trying out for the NFL. I’m glad that didn’t happen. He was huge in the comeback vs NYK the other night tho. Like any good backup pg he’s been holding down the fort since Melo & Terry been out
Big Mo buried on the depth chart in Orlando, Magic need a trade, especially with Bol Bol playing well.
I liked Wagner and Wagner on the Magic, but Mo Wagner is capable of being a starter in the NBA, and with Wendell Carter and Paulo Banchero locking down the four and the five for the foreseeable future, I think Mo Wagner will have to find an opportunity on another team. I think he’d be a great fit on the Mavericks. “Dirk the II”
If Mo was capable of being a starter he prob wouldn’t be 3rd string on 1 of the worst teams in the league behind 2 guys that are younger yet much higher paid. Orlando could def make a trade with all the young talent they have but I doubt anybodys that thirsty for Mo Wagner lol
Who would be on your All Time Brothers Team? You have to take all the brothers, so no taking 2 of the 3 Holidays for example.
I say, Seth and Steph Curry, Gasol Brothers, Horace and Harvey Grant, Lonzo and LaMelo Ball would be a decent 8 man rotation.
Of course, coaching would be rotated between the Van Gundys.
I need Gus & Ray Williams bc I just love the way they play. I’ll go with the Morris twins to bring edge/toughness. Nique & Gerald Wilkins on the wing to bring big time scoring/defense respectively as well as elite athleticism. & as much as I love Jeff Teague I gotta go with Mark Price as my pg so you can give me Brent as his backup. For the bigs I woulda taken Pau & Marc but I’ll ride with Giannis & Kostas since you got the Gasols… MPrice, Gus, Nique, Kieff & Giannis starting w/ BPrice, Ray, Gerald, Mook & Kostas off pine… Mark Jackson & big Escalade as the coaches & the Boozer twins as my 2way players
Ah I forgot the Wilkins…
Lol Boozers, yeh I have a mental block I am a Bulls fan
Boozer was great with the Bulls wym?
Another All-Brothers Team:
Brent and Jon Barry, Andrew Wiggins and Nick Wiggins (i know, he didn’t play in the NBA, through he’s also a profesional basketball player who played briefly in Argentinian League’s Argentino de Junín), Jason AND Jarrón Collins (i don’t remember much NBA Cs who have/had brothers in the league), Thon/Makur Maker (I think he was drafted).
PG: Jon Barry
SG: Brent Barry
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF Thon Maker
C: Jason Collins
Bonus: All-Cousins Team.
1st choice: Ralph Sampson/Jamal Sampson (the latter reminds me of another great era un basketball, 2003-2004-2005)
Two Mo’s no go one team called ….
DSJ ……. has NBA talent. If you watched that Knick game. His D was also there. Seems between growing up. And getting the right help developing your gm. Young guys like DSJ get lost in the numbers gm. All you haters out there. Should watch him play. And learn about this game. This is an NBA player. Learn to root for his success. Rather than root for his failure.
5 gms, PTS 11.6, TRB 2.6, AST 5.8