The Boston Celtics took Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. It was a fantastic pick for the Celtics, but one that more than likely puts an end to Rajon Rondo‘s days in Boston Green.
Smart’s career for the Cowboys was nothing short of noteworthy. He likely would have been the first overall pick in 2013’s lackluster draft, so the Celtics really got a steal here. He was one of just four players to put up 1,000 points, 250 assists and 150 steals in his freshman and sophomore seasons combined, and is a great player to rebuild around. He’s one of the most tenacious defenders around, one of the few players in this draft that can jump in and make an impact right away on the defensive side of the ball.
His personality fire is another boon for the Celtics, and maybe the biggest asset the former Oklahoma State guard brings to Boston. Smart is ultra-motivated and competitive, and that fire power defines his entire game. It allows him to play unselfishly, sharing the ball with teammates in order to give his team the best chance to score, and it motivates him to work hard on defense where many star players take plays off. He’ll be a head coach’s dream and a player that fans have no problem cheering for.
Now, it’s not all roses for the Celtics and Smart. There are reasons that he wasn’t first overall, or even top five, in the stacked 2014 draft. He’s a very shaky shooter and is prone to ice cold streaks. That competitive fire has also burned him in the past, most notably this season when he shoved a fan during a road game against rival Texas Tech. However, his passing and defense more than make up for his shooting, and that type of aggressive streak will fit great in Boston where Larry Bird once roamed as the king of trash talk.
Do these attributes remind you of anyone already playing for the Celtics? They should, as a competitive, aggressive, pass-first point guard with a weak shot and great defensive game, could easily be a description of Smart or Rondo. The two players have overlapping skill sets, and more than likely, they will not be able to coexist long-term.
That means Rondo will be on the move. He’s been involved in trade rumors almost his entire career in Boston, particularly lately, as the Celtics look to rebuild their roster after saying good-bye to the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce era. Its no secret the Celtics want Kevin Love, and pairing the high-scoring power forward with a play-maker at the one-guard will be a match made in basketball heaven.
The Celtics took the best player available when they drafted Smart sixth overall, which is always a smart decision in the NBA Draft; no pun intended. Look for Smart to have a long and successful career in Boston, and for Rondo to continue his elsewhere.