Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks has had a pretty rough season, to say the least. His season got even rougher against the Clippers.
If there is one great outlier about the Dallas Mavericks recent resurgence, is that their run has covered up the regression of second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr.
Looking at his stats, and the depression will hit you like a ton of bricks. In his rookie season, it looked like Smith Jr. would, indeed, be the Mavs future star point guard and take a leap in his sophomore year.
But, to Mavs fans and NBA onlookers, that has clearly not been the case.
Though his field goal percentage has improved somewhat, he has regressed everywhere else, and he still struggles shooting free throws for a point guard. His struggles have been so pronounced, that Mavs head coach Rick Carlie has used sparkplug J.J. Barea to close out games.
So, flash forward to last night, when he revitalized Mavs hosted the hot L.A. Clippers squad. Smith Jr. is, again, struggling, on his way to a 9-point, 3-for-7 shooting night, coupled with five assists and three turnovers.
Along the way, in the later stages of the third quarter, Smith Jr. went diving for a loose ball against Clippers point guard Patrick Beverly. Smith Jr. did retrieve the ball, but not before Beverly, a player with a history of doing his opponents dirty, added the second-year guard to the list by plowing his elbow into Smith Jr. and knocking out his tooth.
You can see in the video above that sucker just spit right out onto the American Airlines Center floor, and, one can’t help that his tooth getting knocked out was a symbol of the season Smith Jr. is having right now. Beverly would be ejected for the elbow, and Smith Jr. temporarily fixed his tooth and finished the game.
If only he can permanently fix his struggling season.