Excitement builds for Mavericks opener, Dennis Smith Jr.'s debut

The Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki starts his 20th NBA season Wednesday night. And rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has created a ton of buzz going into his first season with the Mavs.

Dirk Nowitzki wants to do one thing, this year.

"Help the guys win, really," Nowitzki said. "Obviously I'm not gonna be the main focal point anymore, but hopefully I can help the guys."

That focal point? Rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

"I think the sky's the limit," Nowitzki said of the rook, who is properly excited about playing with Dirk.

"It's been unreal," Smith said of playing with the Mavericks all-time leading scorer. "Just his track record, knowing that he's a living legend. One of the greatest scorers we've ever seen. It's been like a student-teacher type deal, playing with Dirk so far."

But tonight, DSJ has a tough matchup -- against the Hawks Dennis Schroeder.

"It's gonna be one of many, many, many tough matchups at the point guard position," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. "That's a fact."

No doubt. But smith will be the engine for the Mavs, who hope to play more uptempo this year -- even if that means Dirk gets a little bit left behind.

"Dennis can get off the break, and get a couple layups -- I think that would be great for us," Nowitzki said. And then joked "and I just won't even make it to halfcourt, probably."

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