Name: Marcus Smart Age: 20 School: Oklahoma State
Height: 6’4 Weight: 220 Projected Position: PG
18.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.8 apg, 2.9 spg, 2.6 tpg (32.7 minutes per game)
42.2 FG%, 72.8 FT%, 29.9 3FG%, 55.2 TS%, 48.6 eFG%
29.2 USG%, 30.1 AST%, 14.0 TO%, 5.0 STL%, 14.9 DREB%
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
The knock against Smart has been his shooting, and the numbers don’t really help him. However, Smart’s issue is not as much with the mechanics of his shot, as it is with the shots he takes. When he is set, he has a high, quick release, good follow-through, and range to the NBA three-point line. His problems come when he is moving or he senses defenders around him, then he starts moving his body away from defenders and affecting the trajectory of his shot. Also, he will also try to adjust his motion as he is already in it, including this kicking motion, which doesn’t help with consistency. Often, there isn’t even a need for it, because he has plenty of space, and he needs to just get into his motion and shoot the ball. Smart uses screens well to set up his jumper, as well as using his dribble, to clear space. Smart’s shot selection is an issue, though at points during the season he seemed to have it under control. Smart moves well without the ball and uses screens well to get open. When he get square and right into his shot off the screen, he can actually be quite effective.
Smart is very tough to stop when he looks to get into the lane and to the basket. He has a decent first step to both his left and right, and while not very fast, he uses his strength and body control to get into the defense. Smart is a creative finisher around the basket, and can finish with either hand, but he has some problems with getting too far into the defense before making a decision to shoot. He uses angles around the backboard to make shots when the defense cuts him off, and he is always looking to draw contact on his way to the rim. Smart often keeps his head up and sees the defense when he gets into the lane, though he has moments when he is just intent on getting to the basket and misses out on what’s around him. Smart uses his dribble well to create space for his mid-range jumper or floater in the lane, but he needs to work on getting himself in good shooting position before the shot. Often, he is floating in some direction, and his shot will be predictably off that way. Smart uses screens well to get into the lane, and he is very good at coming off them tight and low enough to either force a switch or leaving him with a just the help to beat. He needs to do a better job making reads off these screen situations, though he has improved, and is capable of making some good passes in pick-and-roll situations. Smart has to have a better handle on how far he gets into the lane before he runs out of options among much bigger players, and his shot selection around the basket can be rough to watch, though he is often bailed out by foul calls.
Smart is a good ballhandler, able to use both hands well and having a number of advanced dribbles to use when he needs to create space or get by his man. For the most part, he has good control, keeps the ball low and close to his body, though he often will try to just use his strength to barrel his way through the defense. Smart has shown a very good hesitation dribble, as well as a strong spin move that usually give him all the space he needs to find a shot. Smart loves to attack the basket from the right side, to the point he will force his drives in that direction, but he has the ability to go to his left well. Smart uses his dribble well to set up his jumper, both mid-range and three-point range. Smart has very good court vision and can be an excellent passer. He does a good job finding open teammates when he draws help defenders off of penetration and his passes are usually very good. He runs into problems when he just put his head down and powers his way to the basket because he has little idea where an open teammate is. Smart’s decision making is still a work in progress, but he should be much better when he doesn’t have to be the focal point of the offense.
Free Throw Shooting
Smart can be a better free throw shooter than his numbers show. He has a consistent routine, smooth shooting motion and follow-through. Smart’s biggest problem is that he seems to let the frustration he is feeling on the floor get to him when he is on the line. When composed, you can see the confidence in his stroke; but when he isn’t, you can see him almost rush through the shots. Smart gets to the line often (1.3 free throws for every 2 field goal attempts), and he knows enough that when his team needs points or needs to stop a run, all he needs to do is go strong to the basket. Even with the large amount of attempts he gets, he could probably get more if he didn’t force so many bad jumpers.
Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball)
Smart is an excellent on-ball defender, positioning himself well between his man and the basket, and moving well laterally, even over longer distances. He gets in a good defensive stance, knows how to force his man to his weaker hand, and keeps his hands and feet active. Smart has very good timing when going for steals, watching the rhythm of his opponent’s dribble for the chance to take a swipe at the ball. Though he does take risks on the ball, he recovers quickly if he misses, and he has learned to limit these attempts. Smart does a good job disrupting the flow of the offense by forcing his man to pick up his dribble with a little pressure. He anticipates his man’s movements well, and he can play physical defense if needed. Smart does a good job getting over the top of screens when guarding the ball, and knows when he has a player that he can afford to go under screens against. He closes well on shooters, and he has a knack for distracting shooters as they get into their shot. Off the ball, Smart positions himself well, though he can find himself cheating too much towards help position or overplaying the passing lane looking for a steal. He is a very good help defender, and can trap and recover his position quickly. He anticipates very well off the ball and he is very strong jumping passing lanes. Smart works hard getting through screens off the ball, and he often knows how to use short cuts to meet his man at the spot, though he will sometimes guess wrong. He has excellent defensive awareness, can guard multiple positions, and he sets the tone for the team defense with his play.
Smart is a very good rebounder, using his quickness and his strong body to get to the spot and clear space for the board. He does a good job putting a body on offensive players no matter where he is when a shot goes up, and he does a strong job tracking shots as they go up. Smart is very good at chasing down long rebounds, anticipating where they will go and looking to beat everyone to the spot, and opponents who are about to grab a rebound need to be weary of him sneaking in and swiping at the ball. Smart is also a threat on the offensive glass, using his body well to create space and going strong after the ball. When he gets an offensive rebound, Smart is also very good at getting a good shot back up quickly, often drawing a foul.
Smart is very good in transition, getting the ball quickly up court and showing he can be a strong scorer or distributor. Generally, he makes good decisions in the open court and knows how to draw defenders to him. His shot selection if he chooses to keep the ball can improve, but as with his penetration, he will often seek out, and draw, contact. Smart is also a very good transition defender, knowing how to cut off space and working to stop the ball.
At this time last year, many disagreed with Smart’s decision to pass up the NBA and return for another season. After a tumultuous season, it just made those detractors more vocal. However, Smart did improve from last season, and though the season didn’t go the way he may have wanted, it included some valuable lessons. Smart took it upon himself to carry an Oklahoma State team that had just a few other options, and the frustration boiled over. Whether it was the incident with the fan at Texas Tech or the constant jawing with refs and the opposition, Smart let the pressure get to him. For many that would be a red flag, but I don’t know of anyone who doubts that he has put this behind him. What you’re left with is a good point guard, who is still developing at the position and someone who makes those around him better. His shooting needs work, but he does a great job using his strength to get to the basket and draw fouls. Smart was also one of the best defenders in college basketball, and though he gained a reputation as a “flopper,” he just took advantage of opportunities that were there. I’m guessing that with the NBA fining flopping, you won’t see him do it much anymore. Smart is a leader, with a great understanding of the game, and he is the type of teammate that everyone wants to be on the floor with.
Draft Value: Early Lottery – #3-8
Smart has the body, the skill, and the understanding of the game to make an impact immediately next season. Also, I think his offensive game will get a boost when he doesn’t have to try and force his scoring. A strong college defender, I have little doubt he will adjust to the speed of the NBA game sooner rather than later. He is the best point guard prospect in this class.
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