NBA Draft: Marcus Smart a good fit for the LA Lakers

The point guard out of Oklahoma State is set to go in the top 8 of this year’s draft

Marcus Smart must be getting bored of the media spotlight. After being touted as one of the top picks in the 2013 NBA Draft, Smart pulled out, deciding to spend another year at Oklahoma State. This means we’ve spent 2 full years pouring over Smart’s game, assessing how he’ll do in the NBA. I think we can safely say he’ll be fine.

Smart projects as a solid NBA prospect. While his offensive game is undoubtedly a work in progress, there are many attributes that will be exciting NBA scouts.

At 6’3, 225 pounds, Smart has great stature for a point guard. His size and strength help him while driving to the basket and also allow him to post up smaller guards, a valuable tool for any offence to have.

On top of his size there’s his 6’8 wing span, just one of the things that contribute to Smart’s terrific defence. Averaging 2.9 steals last year, Smart is a ball hawk, capable of picking the pocket of his opposing man several times a game.

His aggressive style of play and competitiveness only contribute to his defensive game and we shouldn’t forget that Smart is an excellent rebounding guard, pulling down 5.9 rebounds per game this year.

As a point guard Smart has very likeable game. He’s an excellent scorer, dropping 39 points against Memphis this year and averaging 18.0 points per game, and when he attacks the rim he’s very difficult to stop, whether he’s scoring or facilitating.

His 4.8 assists per game is also encouraging for a score-first point guard and shows that he’s capable of running an offence when asked.

There are, however, some areas where Smart needs a lot of work. His jumper is definitely a concern. Smart shot under 30% in both his years at Oklahoma State and while he occasionally gets hot, he takes too many bad shots to try and find a streak.

He’s also fairly turnover prone, though he did manage to cut his turnovers down from 3.4 per game in his first year to 2.6 in his second. With time it’s fair to imagine that Smart will be able to get his turnovers under control but he’ll probably struggle in his first 2 years or so in the NBA.

There are also some questions surrounding his temperament after an incident with a Texas Tech fan back in February. Smart pushed the fan after he supposedly racially abused him and was banned by the Big 12 for 3 games. While this seems like an isolated incident it does raise some red flags.

Smart makes a lot of sense for the L.A. Lakers at the number 7 pick. While Steve Nash is still around, at 40 he’s well past his best and the Lakers are lacking another high calibre starting point guard.

Smart could instantly come in and takeover the ball handling duties and while he’d have to learn on the job, who better to have as a mentor than Kobe Bryant?