Hornets Sign Former No. 9 Overall Pick

As the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, big things were projected for Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. And he delivered in his rookie season. Unfortunately, it's been a downhill slide since then. 

Smith Jr. finished last season with an elbow injury knocking him out for the year after 37 games with the Portland Trail Blazers. He went into the offseason as a free agent. Now the Charlotte Hornets are giving Smith another shot.

It's a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, bringing the Hornets' roster to 19 ahead of camp next week. Room for one more if they so choose.

Smith Jr. finished 5th in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017-18, with what is still to this day his career year. The Dallas Mavericks' first-year player that season averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists as the starting point guard. 

But then some guy named Luka Doncic was drafted, and the course of the Mavericks, and Smith's futures were altered forever. 

Smith was dealt to the New York Knicks during the 2018-19 season, where his fortunes continued to decline, to the point where he was averaging just 5.6 points and 3.6 assists last season in Portland, in 17 minutes per game. 

A UCL tear in his elbow finished Smith's season last year, but he's healthy again, and in fact held tryouts for 10 teams this summer. He's still just 24, and now has a chance to win a spot backing up LaMelo Ball with the Hornets. 

Photos: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports, Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports