The hype is growing around Dennis Smith Jr.

Mark Armstrong Image
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Dennis Smith Jr. is poised to light up the NBA.
Dennis Smith Jr. is poised to light up the NBA.

Dennis Smith Jr may have been the ninth player selected in the NBA Draft but after an electric performance in the Vegas Summer League, he's apparently earned a ton of respect from his fellow rookies.

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So much so, in fact, that they've selected him as the most likely winner of this year's Rookie of the Year trophy. DSJ got 25 percent of the vote, beating out the likes of Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz for the honor.

Smith Jr. averaged roughly 17 points five boards and four assists in Summer League play and also opened his fellow rookie's eyes with his explosive athleticism. To the point that he was voted 'Most Athletic' with almost 50 percent of the vote.

Making it even more fun - I'd wager he locked down that award with a missed dunk attempt he had vs Sacramento:

This actual make was pretty solid as well:

DSJ also featured in numerous other categories, finishing second in polling for who will turn out to be the 'Steal of the Draft.'

Smith Jr wasn't the only former Triangle athlete to impress his fellow players in the summer months. Luke Kennard was a runaway winner for the crown of "Best Shooter" and Jayson Tatum tied with Lonzo Ball at the top of the "Best Career" balloting. That's now four years running that a Blue Devil has won that category. Tatum in 2017, Brandon Ingram in 2016, Jahlil Okafor in 2015 and Jabari Parker in 2014.

Results may vary obviously. The rooks have only selected the Rookie of the Year correctly once. What is not in dispute is that the Triangle keeps pumping out the most premium hoops talent; seven out of the top 31 picks this year.

"It's only Summer League" you may be saying, and that's fair, but I'm awfully comfortable predicting long and cash-laden careers for the likes of Dennis, Jayson and Luke.

For full survey results, head to here.