DALLAS — With a 17-man NBA roster that includes eight players who are 6-10 or taller, the Mavericks paid no attention in the draft to Texas freshman Jarrett Allen, especially since they were drafting high enough at No. 9 to grab North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith. But coach Rick Carlisle has been impressed with Allen, a 19-year-old native of Austin, Texas, who was taken 22nd by the Nets.
“Nice player,” Carlisle said before the Mavs faced the Nets Wednesday night at American Airlines Center. “I love his length, he’s got great hands and a very good skill set. He’s demonstrated the ability to shoot the ball with range as well as make plays around the basket.
“He’s made some very high basketball-IQ passes, recognizing switches and stuff like that. He appears to be the kind of guy who is probably going to be a late bloomer physically because he’s so slender.”
Rookie Smith takes over
Smith stepped right in and supplanted Nets castoff Yogi Ferrell as the starting point guard and came into Wednesday’s game averaging 14.6 points and 4.4 assists, but he was only shooting 30.0 percent from three-point range. “He’s gotten better defensively both with recognition and with the whole concept of longer games, being in more of a stance,” Carlisle said of Smith. Citing Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie as an example of the challenges Smith faces nightly in the NBA, Carlisle added, “It’s not like college, where some nights you’re guarding a guy that’s not that much of a threat. In this league, you’re lining up against guys every night at the point guard position that are not only great playmakers, but the majority of them are great scorers, too.”
Ferrell finds home with Mavs
Ferrell was waived last year by the Nets when they signed Dinwiddie, whose 6-6 height was a better fit in their system. The 6-foot Ferrell was signed out of the G League by the Mavs and finished last season as the starter. He’s still averaging 9.2 points and 2.0 assists off the bench this season.
“Listen, I’m happy for Yogi,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He’s found a home here. He’s a great kid and a heck of a player. It’s good it’s worked out for both of them.”