Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Knicks, Sixers Among Teams Planning to Work Out Dennis Smith Jr.
The Knicks and 76ers are among the teams who’ve reached out to N.C. State point guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s camp to set up workouts ahead of the NBA Draft, a source told ZAGSBLOG.
The Sixers pick at No. 3 and the Knicks at No. 8, per DraftExpress.com. The Kings, who pick at Nos. 5 and 10, and the Wolves (No.7) also reached out.
Knicks President Phil Jackson said last week at the NBA Draft Combine that his team was looking for “guards and wings.”
The Knicks are seemingly in position to draft either Smith Jr. or French product Frank Ntilikina, who could be a good fit in the triangle offense.
The Sixers also need guards and wings and are projected to take Kansas wing Josh Jackson by DraftExpress. They have also been linked to Kentucky guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.
The 6-foot-3 Smith averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds this season for the Wolfpack.
Former N.C. State assistant Orlando Early believes Smith Jr. has a bright future in the NBA.
“I think his basketball future is ahead of him,” Early told FanRagSports.com. “People forget that he sat out his senior year of high school and didn’t play [with an ACL tear], so he enrolled in January  and couldn’t work out with us. And this year he was going against teams that are prepared to stop him and game-planning to stop him, he had never seen that. So it was a big adjustment for him, but still he had a great year.”
As for what he’ll bring to an NBA franchise, Early said, “I think his competitive spirit, his mental toughness, he brings that. He’s still going to learn. He’s got a lot to learn just like every guy in the draft but right off the bat his competitiveness and his ability to score the ball is going to help whoever is in position to draft him.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.