Rick Carlisle has always loved Dennis Smith Jr.’s game. But it was a pre-draft meeting, weeks before Smith’s name was called on the Barclays Center stage, where Carlisle became convinced this was the Mavericks’ guy.
“I liked his combination of confidence and humility,” the Dallas Mavericks head coach tells SB Nation. “When talking to him before the draft about our situation, he just had a strong belief in himself. That was clear. He had that belief without being cocky or arrogant. I admire that.”
That humble confidence is a huge credit to how Dennis Smith Sr. raised his son and daughter as a single parent in Fayetteville, N.C, molding Junior — as he calls him — into who he is now. It’s why Smith will insist Jr. is added to the back of his Mavericks jersey.
FIBA appears to get the junior levels right — the top young players in the world tend to participate in every major FIBA junior event. But that’s not the case at the senior level, and that’s a problem.
What FIBA ought to focus on is making it as easy and painless as possible for stars to show up. This is a star-driven sport at the highest level. One bridge solution: summer qualification from late July to early September that follows the global round-robin style instead of centralized tournaments. Cram all of those windows into a part of the calendar when more stars are likely to be available.
Instead, FIBA has followed its own plan, trying in vain to be more like cash cow Cheap Jerseys Borntrade global soccer. It’s turning into quite a lonely path, and basketball around the world will suffer for it.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Spain won bronze, not silver, in Cheap Jerseys And Hats From China the 2016 Olympics.