NBA rookies select Dennis Smith Jr. as their favorite for Rookie of the Year

Dennis Smith Jr. Highlights

Check out some of All-Summer League First Team Dennis Smith Jr.’s best plays from Las Vegas and NC State!

Fans and media have admired Mavs point guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s game since draft night, but today the Mavs rookie received perhaps even more meaningful praise, this time coming from his peers.

In a survey for NBA.com, Smith’s fellow first-year players voted him most likely to win the Rookie of the Year award. The NC State product received 25.7 percent of the vote, beating out Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball (20.0 percent) and 76ers floor general Markelle Fultz (17.1 percent). The rookies also voted him tied with Suns forward Josh Jackson for third-most likely to have the best career, earning 10.5 percent of the vote.

Smith made a heck of an impression on his peers at the Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 17.3 points and 4.2 assists in six games. The Mavericks went 5-1 in the desert, advancing all the way to the semifinals of the 24-team tournament. He earned a spot on the All-NBA Summer League First Team.

“I think a lot of people are underestimating how good he is right now and how good he’s going to be in the NBA,” one top-10 pick told NBA.com’s John Schumann.

Despite being drafted fairly high at No. 9 overall, Smith was surprisingly the fifth point guard taken on draft night, behind Fultz, Ball, De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento), and Frank Ntilikina (New York). As loaded as this point guard class seems to be, the rookies were still surprised Smith was selected as relatively low as he was. He finished second in the “Which rookie was the biggest steal?” category at 13.5 percent, finishing just behind Utah’s Donovan Mitchell (13th overall, 18.9 percent).

And to no one’s surprise, the rookies are impressed with Smith’s hops. He was named most athletic in a landslide, earning 43.6 percent of the vote. The next-closest rookie was Oklahoma City wing (and Dallas product) Terrance Ferguson, who earned 12.8 percent. Click here to see the full survey.

The accolades and honors keep coming for Smith ahead of his first NBA season. He’s shown enough in college and Summer League to excite fans and players alike, and it seems like his Mavericks debut will be the most heavily anticipated in many years. It could be a tough road out of the gate for the rookie, as he’ll have to face off against some of the league’s best players in his first month on the job, but I’m sure he’s looking forward to the challenge. That’s part of playing the point guard position these days.

The Mavs open up preseason play at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Oct. 2. Dallas will open up the 2017-18 regular season at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 18.

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