Lakers NBA Draft Prospect Watch: Marcus Smart

MarcusSmartNot many 19 year old college basketball players would turn down being a top 5 pick and making millions.

Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart isn’t like everyone else though.

After a brilliant freshman season in Stillwater (in which he averaged 15, 4 and almost 6), Smart decided his game needed to develop, and announced he would come back for his sophomore campaign.

A strong, 6’4″ lead guard who attacks the rim fearlessly while rebounding and passing at a high level? Sign me up.

The main reason Smart returned to school was to focus on his jump shot and turnover issues.

Although his shooting numbers are up across the board, and his turnovers are down, Smart’s game is about the same. He has a very physical game where he can finish against anyone in the nation, but he won’t wow anyone with a dunk in traffic too often.

The best part of his game has to be his relentless attacking and play making ability. He pushes the ball at a frenetic pace and can either finish at the rim, pull up, or make the proper pass to the open man.

Against 11th ranked Memphis earlier this season, Smart showed an improved 3- point shot, and looked like the best player in the nation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxXictCDDqA

Another quality that GM’s love about Smart is he doesn’t take a play off. He is constantly hustling, diving for loose balls and is ultra competitive. He has that killer instinct that many players don’t have.

On the defensive end, Smart uses his athleticism and usually guards the opponents best guard. He has the size where you guards can’t post him up, and the quickness where you can’t beat him off the dribble. One negative would be when Smart takes too many chances and tries to get easy steals. One thing is for sure though, expect Smart in your face whenever you have the ball.

When you watch Smart for the first time one thing is certain and that is he knows how to control a game. A true point guard can make the game his without scoring, and although the Cowboys need Smart to score, he does a great job of staying in control.

The only negative about Smart is really we haven’t seen him against the pros. His jump shot isn’t all that much better, and we don’t know if he can read an NBA defense with better athletes. These are two questions that can only be solved at the next level, and that will be when Smart goes top 5 this upcoming draft.

The Lakers could use an athletic guard who can get up and down and really get into opposing ball handlers. A weakness for years has been the Lakers pick and roll defense, and this is definitely something Smart can come in right away and help solve.

If the jump shot and decision making of Smart improve, you may have an all star for quite a long time on your hands.

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