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Dennis Smith Jr. has been working with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

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This is excellent news!

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

As we continue to slowly turn the page toward next season, one of the Knicks’ more enigmatic peculiarities is what will become of Dennis Smith Jr. Last season was just a terrible turn for DSJ. On top of personal tragedy, he also had a rugged list of injuries. A left oblique strain, a disk issue in his lower back and multiple stops in the concussion protocol weren’t helping that rickety jump shot. Neither were his coaches as it turned out, all of whom were sent packing. Now he’s working with Johnnie Bryant and the early returns seem decent.

That didn’t just crop up out of a week with the new player development group though. The very wonderful fellas over at Knicks Fan TV dropped a cool little photo of Dennis sitting next to serially under-appreciated NBA legend, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. No sizzle reel here. Just guys bein’ dudes at the gymnasium.

Dennis has a history of releasing very favorable workout videos that show how good he is going to be. Then the lights come on and we just get a look at the same old Dennis. He is excellent for your garden variety losing team highlights but I want those fajitas to sizzle ever more vigorously game by game and moment to moment. Otherwise we’re walking out there with watered on the vaca in a lukewarm cast iron.

Things got a little more flavorful when we found, according to Jonathan Macri, that the two have been working together for months. If any of Mahmoud’s sensibilities rub off on Dennis, all indications would be that all the screws will be tightened down and that jumper is going to get a lot quicker. Whether that means he’ll start connecting when he’s up on the trapeze and there’s no more safety net remains to be seen. Still he’s a good guy for Dennis to learn from and emulate to some degree. Those springs won’t carry you forever. Just ask old man Phil Jackson. Don’t! He’ll talk your ear off, but yea nah, WHATEVER!

In any case, this news has the underpinnings of a real change that could possibly bleed the line on a sputtering career. If you too want to get your jumper in order, you can get some ground up lessons with Mahmoud right from your home office.

Here’s to hoping Dennis can take the kind of leap that brings his game up a level or three because Mahmoud might be able to help him with the game of basketball as well as the game of life. If you didn’t know, Mahmoud battled Tourette’s Syndrome and protested the national anthem before the whole world was watching. It’s not a straight line from one man to the next, but they certainly share some commonalities in basketball and these untied states. Truly love to see it!