At Number 4, Marcus Smart may be the most interesting player in the draft. Smart, a combo guard who plays the point, can do almost everything for OklahomaState. Although he plays the point for the Cowboys, He is a true combo guard by NBA standards. Smart is stuck in the middle of both positions, something I’ll touch on later. As a freshman in Stillwater, Smart averaged 15 Points, 6 Boards along with 4 dimes and 3 steals while shooting 40% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc. Impressive numbers for the freshman who would’ve no doubt been a lottery pick in the NBA.
But like most players coming out of college, they all need to work on their game, Smart in particular. As the main scoring threat at OklahomaState, Smart was taking a lot of shots. Per 40 minutes, he was taking 14 attempts and hitting 5 of those. 5 for 14? While he was scoring 15 per game, he wasn’t doing it efficiently. But at the age of 18, Smart had a lot of time to work at that, and work he did at the USA U19 Tournament over the summer. While he didn’t put up crazy numbers that make you gush over his stats, you could tell he was improving. Enter the 2013 season, overshadowed early on by freshman phenoms including KU’s Andrew Wiggins and Joel Emdiid and Duke’s Jabari Parker, Smart had to prove he was NBA ready.
So consider his stats for this year, and make sure you’re sitting down. Per 40 minutes, Smart averages 23 Points on, wait for it….wait for it…..45% shooting!!!!! Yes, he’s averaging 16 shots per game which is a lot for a Point Guard but he’s nailing 7 of them. Forgot about scoring though, remember how I told you he was a combo guard? 8 Rebounds per game, 6 assists and 3 steals…..I know, I know. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Why is he at No.4 then”. BECAUSE HES TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! Although he’s a stellar player, he has some questions surrounding his game on whether or not he can make the next step. Here are his strengths and weaknesses:
Size and Strength – At 6”4 and 220 Ibs, Smart looks like he could just bowling ball his way down the lane and get a bucket at will(He has does that a lot by the way). With all the strength now in the frontcourt in the NBA, Smart is built for being able to drive in the paint. Remember he averages 8 Rebounds per Game? That’s a lot for a Guard, if he can do that consistently in the NBA he’ll have no trouble getting good minutes on a team.
Post Game – A lost art in the NBA as colleges now try to get players who have an outside game, Smart contradicts everything about a Point Guard (One big reason he isn’t a true point guard). Smart delivers a fantastic post game for a 6”4 guard with plenty of moves that could even make Kevin McHale happy. With his strength, he can be a great low post scorer against smaller guards in the NBA.
Attacks the Rim – Who doesn’t love a player that can attack the rim? Because of his strength, Smart loves to drive and attack the rim and draw’s the whistle quite frequently as a result. He Averages 7.8 FTA’s per 40 minutes, and ranks 3rd among PG’s in the NCAA.
Passing – Like I said earlier, Smart is not a True Point Guard, yet he can pass out of the Pick N’ Roll nicely, very unselfish, and he averages 6 dimes per game. A stellar number for College.
Athleticism: Westbrook, Irving, Parker, Teague, Walker, Curry etc…all of those guards are explosive and quick. Smart? Not so much, which is why that is his biggest weakness if he is to play the Point in the NBA. His defense is superb but has can be beaten off the dribble easily. This is why he isn’t a 1 or 2 as the name “Combo Guard” fits him through and through.
Jump Shot/Shot Selection: Smart has worked on his jumper big time, increasing his 3 Point Percentage form 29% to 33%. Let’s face it, he’s not going to beat you with his mid-range game at all, which is why many players go under the screens set on them. I would compare his shot selection to Brandon Jennings though. Understandably he’s trying to make plays to win, but often times he’ll take a 3 or a mid-range shot when he should pass.
Position He Will Play In The NBA: PG
Although Smart is a Combo Guard, he doesn’t have the shot to play the 2 so we’ll most likely see the Pokie product bringing the ball up the court in his NBA days. He ability to drive and strength will definitely be of help to him, but it will be interesting to see if he can develop a shot in the pros.
NBA Player Comparison:
Dwaron Afflade (Combination of Aaron Afflalo and Dwayne Wade)
Smart is a difficult player to compare too but Wade and Afflalo both possesses qualities of Smart. Wade is one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA currently and may have the best post game of a guard. Both players are able to drive to the basket well and develop a shot later in their career. Wade and Afflalo did so by adding threes to their game.