Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. has an impressive training staff helping him take his game to the next level during his first NBA season.
Darrell Armstrong played 14 NBA seasons and won Sixth Man of the Year in 1999. He is an assistant coach for Dallas. Former NBA second-round pick God Shammgod, the scoring champion of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2004, is now a player development coach with the Mavericks.
Head coach Rick Carlisle spoke about Armstrong and Shammgod (via Mavs.com):
“Both of those guys played in the league, and both of those guys grew up playing the point guard position in different fashions. Both of those guys have done a great job for us and have influenced our program in a very positive way, so they’re going to help.”
Armstrong, like Smith, is from North Carolina. He was the top scorer of the Spanish League in 1995 and was hired as an assistant in 2009. He helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA championship and he has coached top players including Jason Kidd.
Shammgod, who trained Smith while in high school, worked with 2016 fifth overall pick Kris Dunn as an assistant at Providence College.
He has also worked with Isaiah Thomas as well as former NBA players who have become international stars such as MarShon Brooks and Ricky Ledo.
Last season, Brooks scored 36.2 points per game while playing in China (and 35 points per game the season prior) while Ledo led the Turkish league with 21.1 points per game.
Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment: He is credited for teaching Kobe Bryant his crossover move.
Perhaps this is one reason why former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups has predicted Smith will win Rookie of the Year next season. He had shown very impressive performances during the NBA Summer League and will likely continue to develop his craft under Armstrong and Shammgod.