As we get closer to the draft, free agency and as trade talks heat up, there’s something worth noting about the Knicks’ point guard situation: Dennis Smith Jr. still has significant support in the organization and there are people with the Knicks would like to see Smith Jr. get a legitimate chance to bounce back after an uneven 2019-20 season.
Smith dealt with injuries and the death of a close family member over the course of last season. We took a look at some of the context around Smith’s season in a mailbag earlier in the summer.
Since then, the Knicks have hired Tom Thibodeau and made a strong financial commitment to player development.
If Smith Jr. is on the roster at the start of next season, it will be interesting to see how he fares under the new staff.
Smith Jr.’s athleticism is undeniable. Last offseason, the Knicks tried to work on his outside shot with him. The work didn’t produce tangible results on the court.
But Smith Jr. was one of the players who attended voluntary individual and team workouts with Thibodeau and his staff this month.
Also, this may not be relevant to today, but Thibodeau was a big fan of Smith Jr. coming out of the draft in 2017.
If top Knick decision-makers are committed to providing a real opportunity for Smith Jr. this season, it may impact how they approach the offseason.
Obviously, Smith Jr. wouldn’t be off limits in any trade, but the Knicks may be less willing to include him in a trade. Or they may be less inclined to sign another guard in free agency if they want to give Smith Jr. a regular role in 2021.