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Before signing in Charlotte, Dennis Smith Jr. thought… of the NFL

Before signing in Charlotte, Dennis Smith Jr. thought… of the NFL

We imagine that he would have liked to leave Madison Square Garden with a victory in his pocket. His team’s narrow overtime loss did not prevent Dennis Smith Jr. to sign another solid performance, finished with his first double-double of the season: 14 points at 7/16 on shots and 11 assists.

He plays well. I’m happy for him, he’s a good boy “, greets Tom Thibodeau, the last coach that the leader knew during his totally missed visit to New York. With the meeting, the interested party said he had no particular grudge against the Knicks who had ended up exchanging him in February 2021 in Detroit.

His time in New York helped him

They know what I’m made of, they have the tapes from two years ago when we were training with all these guys. For real, for real. All of this stuff is documented. They know what I am “, insists the 24-year-old player who had rebounded in Portland last season.

The 9th choice of the 2017 Draft even considers that his New York experience had beneficial effects on him. ” It helped me grow as an individual. Without going through what I went through, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’m grateful for all the time I was here, the good and the bad. I understand that no one offered me my happiness or my job, so I can’t let anyone steal them from me. I started to make the most of every situation I found myself in. It really prepared me for the situation I find myself in now. »

Namely at the Hornets where he takes advantage of the injuries of LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier to recover minutes and show himself. After four games, he has 13.5 points (52% on shots), 6 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. Dennis Smith Jr. thinks he owes part of his success to Steve Clifford, whom he was already ” fan which instills confidence in him.

No question of going abroad

The coach highlights the talent of his summer recruit. ” Although with the injuries he is no longer the athlete he was, he is still a very good athlete, even for this league. I don’t see him stopping in what he’s doing frankly “Judges the technician who also greatly appreciates his defensive investment.

This beginning of rebirth does not make him forget months of hardship. The North Carolina native was only invited by the Hornets at the end of September. ” I told my old agent that I wouldn’t go abroad. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to the NFL. I was very serious. I gained a lot of weight. I was going to try “Reports the player who has however had no contact with franchises of the American football league.

People were trying to wipe me off the map. There are all these guys much older than me who, whatever their situation, have one opportunity and then another. I know I am young. I have the time. I have confidence in myself “, displays the player who describes an NBA course made “ roller coaster, ups and downs. But I wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s. It changed me in so many ways, made me who I am, and helped me grow. I’m grateful. »

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