Feb 3, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) during the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Iowa State defeated Oklahoma State 98-97 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Profile: Marcus Smart

Smart or ,well, not smart? That is the question people asked about former Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart’s decision to return to school at the end of his freshman year. The general consensus seemed to be that Smart’s worst case scenario would be to fall to number two to the Orlando Magic. Now, flash forward a year and here we are talking about Smart to the Magic yet again but this time in the number four slot in the draft. Many feel Smart may be a reach at four, however the Magic need a point guard and they have already had Smart in for two workouts. So let’s have a quick rundown of Smart’s game.

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  • Size/Intangibles:

Smart measured out at just over 6’3 in shoes with a ridiculous 6’9 wingspan, with all of that packed onto an Adonis like 227 pound frame. Smart is not the fastest or most explosive player, but he is very agile and incredibly powerful; Smart may come into the NBA as the strongest guard in the league. On top of his physical strengths, Smart is also a very fiery competitor and not the Lance Stephenson blow in your ear kind, but the Chris Paul or Kobe Bryant “I’ll murder you and take your lunch” kind. While this season Smart did face a few question marks about his character (Texas Tech incident/Chair kick) just about everybody that knows Smart raves about his character.

  • Finishing Ability

Smart is a very good finisher in the paint — shot 67 percent last year– in part to his incredible strength. The thing about Smart being able to finish in the paint that sticks out is that he did it in a few different ways. Smart posted up, cut to the basket off the ball and broke his man down off the dribble and was effective at finishing in each situation.

  • Defense

Smart is the best defensive player in the draft. He has the best defensive fundamentals I’ve seen from a college perimeter defender in quite some time. He’s always engaged on the defensive end and is constantly communicating assignments with teammates. He’s nearly always in the proper defensive stance and has outstanding instincts when it comes to jumping passing lanes. In college, Smart defended 1-4 and while in the NBA he won’t be able to defend fours, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him matched up with guys like Kevin Durant or Paul George if teams don’t have good perimeter defenders on the wing.


  • Perimeter Shooting

Smart is a very poor jump shooter — he didn’t shoot above average anywhere outside the paint. He doesn’t need to break down his shot to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist levels but he needs some work. His biggest issue for me is that he doesn’t stay square when shooting. He consistently torques his body when shooting jumpers, open or contested. His release isn’t all that bad but it needs to be more consistent.

  • Offensive decision making

For a guy that is so intelligent defensively, Smart just makes mind boggling decisions on offense. His shot selection is fairly terrible. As mentioned before, he’s a bad jump shooter yet he refused to stop shooting them even though he is unstoppable in the paint. There were many times last season where Smart could have made the extra pass to a better shooter but shot the three instead. It’s possible he was trying to prove something to NBA teams, but I’m not giving him the benefit of the doubt there. Smart also leaves his feet way too often while passing, he’ll go into the air without a plan and jam the ball into traffic and hope for the best.


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Kyle Anderson

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