“It will mean a lot for us because we plan on being here for a long time,” Smith said. “So the more we can build together now, I think it’ll help a lot next season, building chemistry for next year.”
There’s more news out of Dallas:
- These next 19 games are also important to center Nerlens Noel, who has a limited time to rebuild his reputation after missing extensive time after thumb surgery, Sefko notes in a separate story. Heading into unrestricted free agency after accepting Dallas’ qualifying offer last summer, Noel has played in just 20 games and is averaging 3.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per night. The Mavericks want to see if he and Smith can develop chemistry over the rest the season. “When he was out there, I just felt like the game got a lot faster,” Noel said of Smith after returning Wednesday. “When he was handling the ball, it helped get guys involved and it brings a new dynamic with me and Dennis and the speed of the game. And I know that’s the way he likes to play and that’s the best way for us to excel.”
- The NBA doesn’t seem inclined to take away the Mavs’ first-rounder for this summer as punishment for the alleged workplace scandal or Mark Cuban’s comments on tanking, states Mark Mosley of SportsDayDFW. Assuming Dallas lands a high lottery pick, Mosley likes DeAndre Ayton of Arizona to solve the team’s problems in the middle.
- Also addressing the draft, Sefko examines whether Oklahoma’s Trae Young could be an effective backcourt partner for Smith.