DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks have taken North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth overall pick in the NBA draft.
President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said before the draft Thursday night that point guard was the team's biggest need, and the club decided to address it.
Smith will get a strong chance to start with the Mavericks believing that Yogi Ferrell is better-suited to a backup role even though he made a splash that earned him a two-year deal after the undrafted rookie joined the Mavericks on a 10-day contract.
The Mavericks missed the playoffs for just the second time in the past 17 seasons. They had their highest pick going into the draft since 1998, when they ended up with Dirk Nowitzki, who is preparing for his 20th season.