Did OK Stateís Early Exit Hurt Marcus Smartís Draft Status?
Granted you can’t put the entire loss on the Freshman Point Guard, but his inability to even make the game competitive is something that NBA Scouts will most likely take note of.
The Ducks held a double-digit lead for almost the entire game, playing tight defense on the Cowboys and using their defensive stops to fuel their offensive attack. Despite shooting under 40% from the field, Oregon was constantly quicker to the ball and always where they needed to be.
Smart logged 37 minutes, with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. On the negative side, he made only 4 of his 8 free throws, missed both of this three point attempts, and turned the ball over 5 times. Averaging 29% on threes throughout the season, his 0-2 from downtown wasn’t the biggest surprise of the day, but at 77% from the strike, shooting 4-8 from the line was a bit of a shocker.
All in all, Smart’s disappointing performance came from beyond the stat-line. At the beginning of the game, he was hesitant to shoot and unwilling to assert himself as the top player in the game. There was never a sense of urgency and rarely did he ever really seem dedicated to making the game more of a contest.
At 6’4”, 225, Smart has the ideal size for an NBA Point Guard. He’s got a great combination of quickness and strength that has put him into discussion as a potential top-2 pick this summer. His 3 steals per game distantly led the Big 12 this year and his ability to take opposing guards in the post is an extremely attractive asset to NBA scouts.
On the negative side, Smart is a very inconsistent shooter. He shot 40% from the field this year and only 29% from beyond the arc. If he’s surrounded by scorers in the NBA, his shooting struggles aren’t as big of a concern, but most of the teams drafting in the top 5 this season won’t be offering very much in terms of support. A lot of young guards develop their shots as they integrate themselves into the NBA (see case #1: Derrick Rose) but there are also a lot of instances where that inability to shoot really haunts a player throughout their career (see case #2: Rodney Stuckey).
Smart hasn’t made it clear whether he’s going to forego his sophomore season and enter the draft, but it’s the most likely scenario. Considering this year’s class to be significantly weaker than next year’s, it’s probably the smartest choice (unavoidable pun, sorry) for the Freshman to test the pool.