George de Paula
Marcus Smart | 2014 NBA Draft Profile
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Oklahoma State | Sophomore | Point Guard | 6-foot-4 | 220 lbs
2013-14: 32.7 MPG, 18.0 PPG, .422 FG%, .299 3FG%, 5.9 RPG, 4.8 APG, 2.9 SPG
2012-13: 33.5 MPG, 15.4 PPG, .404 FG%, .290 3FG%, 5.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 3.0 SPG
Editor’s Note: Throughout June, Timberwolves.com’s Draft coverage presented by Coors Light will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 13 pick, or if they choose to be mobile during the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26. Part XIV takes a look at Marcus Smart, a physical, gifted guard out of Oklahoma State that does a little bit of everything on the court.
Rarely do you see point guards come into the league that have the physical tools and abilities that Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart has. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Smart is a load to handle on both ends of the court. He has a knack for causing turnovers, he can drive and handle contact and he’s able to impact the game on the scoreboard, on the glass and facilitating to others.
He’s a player that has the ability to draw from other guards that came before him and hone his game into a collage, of sorts.
“I’d just like to take bits and pieces of everybody’s game and carry it with me,” Smart said at the Draft Combine last month. “I watch games, I just watch them on TV when they come on, and I watch everybody. I like bigger guards, I’m a bigger guard so I like Derrick Rose, James Harden, Deron Williams, all those guys.”
Smart would’ve likely been a higher pick had he left Oklahoma State after his freshman year, but he’ll still project to be in the top 10. Last year, he led the Big 12 in free throws and was second in attempts, which shows he is able to use his strength to draw contact and get to the line. He was one of the nation’s best in the steals department during both of his years in college, and he was also the Big 12’s best player in defensive win shares, according to Sports-Reference.com.
He said the three areas he thinks he can impact right away for an NBA team are his defense, his playmaking ability and his leadership.
He said he’s ready to make the leap in part because of the base of family and friends he has around him.
“I have an outstanding, tremendous supporting cast behind me,” Smart said. “And that helped me a lot.”
There’s no question Marcus Smart is one of the top point guards in this Draft class. He’s strong and physical, and he has great instinct to match his size. Smart can do a little bit of everything on the court because of his size, strength, quickness and basketball IQ. Smart was fourth in the Big 12 last year with 4.8 assists per game, and he also was a threat on the glass with 5.9 rebounds per contest—a huge number for a point guard. He led the Big 12 in steals during both of his seasons in Stillwater, and he was in the top three in steals per game during both of his collegiate seasons. Smart has great court vision and is able to act as a playmaker for his teammates. He can guard multiple positions due to his size and physicality, and he is very good at causing turnovers. He’s solid on the pick-and-roll. And Smart has great energy on the court. He is active diving for loose balls, and he always seems to play with intensity. You can hear the competitive nature of his game in his voice.
Smart’s offensive game raises the biggest concerns. It’s not that he can’t score—his 18.0 points per game prove that to be untrue—but his overall shooting isn’t consistent. He never shot better than 29.9 percent from 3-point range during his two years in Stillwater, and overall his field goal percentage is lower than you’d like to see out of a stand out point guard in today’s NBA. When he’s got a defender on him, he has trouble knocking down his jumpers. His shot selection could also be part of the equation. Smart also turned the ball over 3.4 times per game in his first year and 2.6 times per game as a sophomore. He’s not the swiftest ball handler, which contributes to those turnover stats. He also has a couple intangible questions. He wasn’t a big-time performer in big games for Oklahoma State—the Cowboys lost their first NCAA tournament game each year Smart was on the team. And he has missed time due to suspensions, including the incident when he shoved a fan at Texas Tech, meaning teams might need to deal with that aspect wherever he lands.
THEY SAID IT
“I’ma prove whatever I have to prove. I’m just going to go out and play my game. My game’s going to do it for me. You can sit here and talk all you want, but it all comes down to actually going out there and doing the work.” — Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart
WHAT HE CAN BRING TO THE WOLVES
Smart is a physically-gifted point guard, plain and simple. He is physical enough to handle contact, he plays strong defense and he has a good understanding of the game. He is an excellent rebounder, and he is the type of player who is a threat to impact the game in several different ways. He, along with Dante Exum, are considered the top two point guards in this draft. While the Wolves are not in the market for a point guard, or at least a high-profile one at the top of the draft board, a guy like Smart is the type of player that will likely grow into a strong, productive asset in the league for many years to come.