With the sixth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics selected Marcus Smart, a sophomore combo guard out of Oklahoma State. In recent days, Smart has been projected as a likely pick for the Celtics after receiving glowing praise for his second workout with the team last week.
Smart is one of the most tenacious guards in the draft, who attacks the rim with reckless abandon. On the defensive end of the floor, he brings a bulldog mentality and could defend two, possibly three positions at a high level. Here is my full scouting report of Marcus Smart from my 2014 NBA Draft Guide, followed by my instant reaction.
What Others Are Saying
"I thought he was good. I thought he was physical. I thought he was a leader. I thought he shot the ball well in drills. I think that clearly he's got a way about him that people follow. He is a very tough guy and competed the whole time. My expectations for him were high from that regard, but he certainly met them." - Coach Brad Stevens
Marcus Smart might be the type of player that the Boston Celtics can build around. He has the "it" factor that you look for in a leader, which is something teammates feed off of. He might be extremely impulsive and make occasionally poor decisions, but the good outweighs the bad, which is probably why the pick was made.
Watching Smart, the first thing you'll notice is his aggressive style of play. On both ends of the floor, he plays every play like it's his last. Offensively, he drives hard and gets to the rim at will. Drawing fouls in the NBA shouldn't be much of a problem for him, though he'll need to add some more advanced dribble moves in order to take his game to the next level.
And defensively, well...Smart is special. There isn't a single negative thing you can say about him here. He's so strong and can defend two-guards and even some small forwards, but he's exceptionally quick moving laterally, so he'll be able to defend the league's best point guards. He might not be a "Tony Allen" defender, but the upside is there, if he reaches his peak.
But that's a poor and basic comparison anyway, because Smart is a much more advanced off-ball defender than Allen was at the same age. All of his rotations are on-point and it's very rare that you see him disengaged from the play. He hustles and would take a bullet if it meant picking up a steal. The guy is a raging monster.
I've had difficulties pegging Marcus Smart on my big board throughout the year. The highest I had him was #6 in March and the lowest was #9 in May. I think I feel comfortable with him at the #8 spot at this point, only because there are still the concerns about his true position on the offensive end.
While I think Smart is a better point guard than he gets credit for, he can still be a bit inaccurate with his passing, which is an area he needs serious development. Since he's so focused on blowing up everything in his way while he drives to the rim, sometimes he misses open teammates.
The real concern is Smart's jumper. Can he improve? Sure, but he has poor mechanics, which features an elongated dip that ruins the timing of his shot. He misses to the sides, short, and long, which suggests that the problems also extend to his fingers; it's not just a lower body issue.
Regardless, Marcus Smart brings enough to the table and puts the Celtics in a terrific position going forward with loads of roster versatility.