Midway through Week 14, Nick Whalen checks in on the players and storylines impacting the fantasy basketball landscape.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week that the Mavs have escalated their efforts to move Dennis Smith out of Dallas. Smith has missed the last three games with what the team called a sore back, but he's now listed as questionable due to an illness for Wednesday's game against the Spurs.
Reading between the lines, it's likely Dallas is keeping Smith out until it finds a deal, so from a fantasy perspective the 2017 lottery pick is in a holding pattern. Smith hasn't exactly been a bust in Dallas, but he's clashed with Rick Carlisle and, more concerningly, hasn't meshed well with Luka Doncic, who's clearly the Mavs' cornerstone for the foreseeable future.
Through 28 games this season, Smith is averaging 12.6 points, 3.9 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals in just under 28 minutes. He's improved his scoring efficiency over last season – 44.3% FG, 37.5% 3PT – though he's still a poor free throw shooter (68.1% FT) who turns the ball over a ton, with his turnover rate (20.7%) up nearly six percentage points from his rookie year.
Even so, there's reason for longer-term optimism. Smith is still only 21 years old and he's battled injuries over his first season-and-a-half in the NBA – not to mention, he tore his ACL late in his high school career. The expiration date on that latter excuse may be running out, but