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A negative spin on the drafting of Marcus Smart

Chuck - Red's Army June 27, 2014 Celtics News, Marcus Smart 41 Comments

NBA: NBA Draft

It’s hard for me to fault the Celtics for selecting Marcus Smart with the 6th pick because I believe he was the best player available. Once you get past the lack of fireworks (see Love, Kevin) and the speculation about how this could impact Rajon Rondo’s future, you should be able to accept the fact that Smart is a talented basketball player with a promising future.

The Celtics graded well in most draft report cards (ESPN: A-, CBS: A-). But… ESPN Insider Amin Elhassan isn’t a fan of Smart landing in Boston:

I like Smart from an intangibles standpoint. By all accounts, he’s an excellent teammate, a fierce competitor and charismatic locker-room leader. My question comes on the basketball end of it: He has thrived so far on using his size and strength advantages against smaller, weaker opponents at lower levels of competition. The game in the NBA is creating “separation by threat” — either by threat of quickness (which he doesn’t possess), threat of shooting (a major weakness), or threat of strength (his won’t be as big an advantage for him on the pro level).

Further, he isn’t polished or experienced enough to be a full-time point guard, so he’ll pretty much be learning on the job. There’s a lot of speculation that Rajon Rondo is out the door because of this pick, but I don’t see how a backcourt of Smart and Avery Bradley (should he be retained) have the creativity to drive and run an offense that isn’t even average by NBA standards.

While everyone is entitled to an opinion, I don’t think it’s fair that Elhassan fails to acknowledge half of Smart’s game – his elite defense. Coincidentally, Elhassan praises another player with limited offensive skills and exceptional defensive skills – Aaron Gordon.

At 225 lbs, Smart is going to retain a major advantage over nearly all NBA point guards and most shooting guards.

It’s obvious Smart isn’t a triple threat. If he was, he would have been drafted in the top 3. There’s a reason he fell to 6.

I do give Elhassan credit for acknowledging that Smart’s presence could impact Avery Bradley more than Rajon Rondo. Another wise man recognized this possibility moments after Smart was drafted.

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  • Brad

    She couldn’t be more wrong about Smart’s supposed lack of quickness. Just check out his combine results.

    • Jon

      Yea, he almost beat Aaron Gordon in the lane agility drill and finished behind James McAdoo and Alec Brown (one undrafted and one second round PF-C), as well as 17 other guys). He is not even a good athlete by NBA standards.

      • Brad

        Check you facts again, guy. He finished with lane agility times on par with Chris Paul & John Wall.

        • Jon

          Sorry – made a mistake. He did finish behind Gordon in the lane agility drill, and I meamt to say that he finished behind 19 guys in the shuttle run (but I didn’t finish the sentence). I guess the point is that people are acting like he Dwayne Wade, when in fact he is at best an average athlete for the NBA. He dominated in college because he was ip against smaller and slower players, but that’s not going to be the case in the NBA.

  • wil

    he will do fine, deron williams has been doing it for years with his fat body.

    im more concerned with James young who looks like a Jeff Green but smaller and with out greens athleticism.

    the guy cant put the ball in the floor.

    • romeo0119

      Oh man D Will…how awesome was he in the play off for BKN? I think smart will play SG more than point guard

      • wil

        lol dwill has been in a decline but he WAS a good point guard.

        He isnt fast, he was just heavy and good at absorbing contact and it worked for him.

        I dont think theres alot of stronger point guards than smart out there. He can still bully Curry, Rubio, Lillard, etc

        • Jon

          Deron Williams was and is a better ball handler and distributor than Smart. He also was a plus shooter from distance – shot 42% from 3 in 3 attempts a game in his rookie year. I’m pretty sure you don’t have to worry about Smart doing that next year.

          He will be able to bully other PGs, but he can’t defend any of them (not quick enough) and he can’t actually run an offense on the other end of the floor. If you want to look into Marcus Smart’s future, check out the Pistons bench and see how Rodney Stuckey fits in the NBA as a plus-sized combo guard who can’t shoot.

          • wil

            from what ive seen. he is a pretty good ball handler, and from what they say he has a pretty elite lateral movement.

            He is pretty athletic.

  • KWAPT

    Who is this “wise man” Chuck? I click that link & it just goes to your Twitter..

    • LA Flake

      And his Twitter page didn’t even have pictures of half-naked chicks! WTF Chuck? You wasted my click!

  • RedsLoveChild

    The Irony :
    Players named Young & Smart were drafted by a GM who is Old & Dumb

    • LA Flake

      Cheer up, Reds. We’ll burn down Rodeo Drive next year. :)

      • RedsLoveChild

        That`s true, DA has just guaranteed we`ll be in next years` lottery as well.

        Only Ainge could watch the Celts get pounded in the paint and on the boards all last year and say…”Hmm, what we really need right now is a short, stocky guard who can`t shoot well!”

        • forever_green

          DA should have made a play for Chandler, Dallas got him back pretty cheap, wonder if a package with the 17th pick would have interested the Knicks…but DA has his thumbs up his butt so, only one thing for DA to do now..trade Rondo for a backup to Smart! Pathetic.

        • bill_nair

          He totally should’ve reached for Capella at #6. You never take BPA.

      • forever_green

        Seeing it may be a worse pick next year, good luck with that.

  • Brad P

    Worst case scenario:
    Rondo traded + Bradley resigned

    If one of those happened, I wouldn’t be too happy, but both…..I would absolutely lose it

    • Jon

      They can spend the next 5 years in the lottery and they aren’t likely to find a better player than Rondo.

  • RedwasKing

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuyD3JOwnug
    Yeah… this guy isn’t athletic at all…

    Also this is now Celtics vs Lakers :)

    • zippittyay

      That shows guys that are both at best average in terms of NBA athleticism.

      • RedwasKing

        Are you kidding!! A 360 windmill is not average even in the NBA

        • zippittyay

          yeah, it is. These guys are barely getting their heads within a foot of the rim.

          • RedwasKing

            you play too much 2k haha

  • Nick Knudson

    Man why’s everyone hating on smart Rondo’s time like the big 3 is done we need to move on rather have a 20 year old Pg with no knee injuries then a 29-30 PG who had just recovered from a torn ACL wanting MAX money

    • Jaedre

      AGREE!!! I love Rondo and i honestly dont think he will be traded i think Smart will be our combo guard… Sort of what we wanted Bayless to do for us this year but Smart is def a great pick up an if we get a good offer on Rondo do it Danny!!! I rather have him build a team who can contend for years than a bullshit team with a 3-4yr window. It worked in 08 doesnt mean it works all the time.

  • forever_green

    People have become so complacent, DA should have delivered fireworks.

  • Rich Jensen

    “The game in the NBA is creating ‘separation by threat'”

    Yeah. That’s not an oversimplification.

    • Jon

      It is, but I think the overarching point stands. The modern NBA offensive game is all about creating spacing. You can do that by drawing your man because you are a good shooter or by beating people off the dribble and drawing help. If you can’t do that, you are of limited use as an offensive player. That is also a gross oversimplification, but Smart’s inability to do either of those two things at an NBA level mean he is an offensive liability.

      • Rich Jensen

        You can also create spacing by moving without the ball–and being able to move without the ball is not dependent on athletic talent. It can be coached. Also an over-simplification. Basically, I have an issue with analysts who 1) freeze players in time and 2) deprecate the value of good coaching and good offensive/defensive schemes.

        My biggest concern with the Celtics roster as it stands, is that they don’t have enough players who can catch and shoot. But #6 was too high to draft McDermott & he was going to be gone by #17.

        • Jon

          Yep – defenses are too stingy nowadays without ball handlers that can break people down and draw help or shoot and stretch team’s shells. All the movement in the world doesn’t make a difference if San Antonio doesn’t have a team full of knock down shooters.

          • Rich Jensen

            Both of the coaches at my alma mater run motion offenses, and IMO, that style is better at generating open looks than, basically, P&R + static shooters. But the open player needs to be ready to shoot as soon as he gets the ball, otherwise you give the defense time to recover, and all that movement was wasted.

  • Tarik Mcfarland

    I guess its fitting since the new DUMB and DUMBER movie is coming out, we are in full character today…… MARCUS SMART is not a replacement for RONDO…. His point guard acumen will develop, but AVERY BRADLEY was scouted as a SG which would probably be a back up PG. That was his ORIGINAL role when drafted, to be a Defensive 2 and a Back up PG. He excelled defensively (Technique wise and showed superior skills) but, THAT TOOK A TOLL on him physically. Avery had surgery on BOTH shoulders (1 because on a defensive play, and 1 while trying to get a jump shut off against a bigger defender). Avery is a restricted FA and The Celts are worried about him getting a HUGE offer (above the 6 million per he was offered last season) so, the Celtics are concerned about repeating a Jeff Green type situation, where (while AB averaged about 14 pts per) He Might not develop much further offensively and may BREAK DOWN Physically because of the way he plays defensively.

    Marcus Smart fills a need this year and Possibly next.
    1. Insurance for Avery. If Avery accepts the Tender (RFA) or has a deal in place that is matched by the Celts, Then MS becomes the back up combo guard spelling AB and RR. If Either gets hurt he steps in. This scenario may mean they move Jeff Green (which actually will be easier once Gordon Hayward gets OVER PAID (10-13 per} for basically the exact same production.)

    1.a- AB leaves and MS immediately fills in as the OFF guard (wont call him a shooting Guard….YET)

    2. 2015 – If the Celts aren’t able to compete, Rondo is a FA. If He leaves Then MS has a Year of Seasoning and can Possibly Step In and Start in 2015 at PG.

    As far as his size not being a factor in the NBA… are you crazy?.. “Undersized” defenders like Avery Bradley and Tony Allen are successful guarding the 2 because they are relentless. Well isn’t that the word on MS? He Battles til the final whistle. Encompasses the passion you want… and is FEARLESS?. His size will only add to that ability defensively.

    and Finally That JUMP SHOT everyone is so worried about…. read the scouting report on RONDO, TONY PARKER, VINCE CARTER, Dewayne Wade, all had QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR ABILITY TO SHOOT!!!!!

    even MJ, KOBY and LBJ had questions about their shot… remember the LINE DRIVES MJ and KOBE used to shoot early in thier careers? of course not because all your memories of them are HIGHLIGHTS of their careers. They eventually developed better shooting arc and Touch… MJ eventually would shoot it so high it would come out of the tv shot. and his PCT improved as his athleticism failed…NOT COMPARING MS to any of these guys, except for the fact that he is a lottery pick (BY EVERYONE’S STANDARDS) with the same fixable flaws as the other lottery picks.

  • zippittyay

    I predict this draft will be remember one of two ways. Either “The draft we were a coin flip away from drafting Dante Exum” or “The Draft where we passed on Doug McDermott/Nick Stauskas/Elfrid Payton”

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  • bill_nair

    Smarts combine numbers were better than Wall, Westbrook, Lillard and the like. He’s not quick? At least be right when you discredit a player.

  • Cal Cortez

    didn’t like either pick-this team will be bad for a while

  • GinoTime

    If he’s wearing green, I’m giving him a chance.