PG Marcus Smart had an up and down sophomore season after deciding to return to school for another year. He likely would have been a top pick last year, and may have hurt his draft stock by sticking around in college. Teams are focusing on his deficiencies and weaknesses, and forget how good of a player he can still become. The Los Angeles Lakers should take advantage and hope that he falls to them in the NBA Draft.
Many of Smart’s statistical averages decreased in his second season, but he still remained one of the top players in the country. The Lakers need to get younger in the backcourt, and Smart has the potential to be a star one day. He has great size and is able to get to the basket with ease. He is a very strong finisher and unafraid of contact in the lane. He must improve his outside shot, but that is something that he can work on during the offseason.
Due to his size, many people forget just how athletic Smart is. He is very fast with the ball in his hands, and quick enough to beat players off the dribble. He tested well at the combine, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a stronger point guard in the league today. This will enable him to guard bigger players who have torched the Lakers in the past.
Smart’s competitive edge makes him an x-factor during games. It is easy to tell how bad he wants to win, due to the passion that he plays with. Sometimes, it is hard to contain, but as he matures, he will learn to control his emotions and use them positively. This edge will fit well with players such as Kobe Bryant, who want to be on the court with winners.
It is likely that teams will overlook Smart when it comes time to draft. The Lakers need more youth in the backcourt, and Smart could learn a lot from Bryant and Steve Nash. He has the potential to be a great guard in the league, and the Lakers should hope that he falls to them.