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#pounditThursday, December 1, 2022

Hornets adding notable backup behind LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball gesturing

Jan 8, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) reacts after making a three point basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second period at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

LaMelo Ball will be backed up next season by a fellow former top-ten pick.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that veteran guard Dennis Smith Jr. has signed with the Charlotte Hornets on a one-year deal. The Hornets were in the market for more point guard depth after Isaiah Thomas’ contract expired this summer. Smith is also a native of North Carolina who played his college ball at NC State.

Smith, 24, was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but has proven to be a bust to this point of his career. Prior to Charlotte, he had played for four different NBA teams with his stats getting worse and worse ever since a solid rookie year. That was not entirely Smith’s fault though as he had battled injuries and clunky fits on his teams.

With the Hornets, Smith figures to get a nice look as the only true backup point guard on the roster (Terry Rozier starts at shooting guard next to Ball and 22-year-old James Bouknight is more of a 2 as well). Plus between Ball’s flashy play and Smith’s bounce-house athleticism, Hornets’ practices could quickly become must-watch affairs.

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