Kids are either declaring early entry for the 2013 NBA Draft or deciding that they want to return to school for at least one more year. Since we are all experts in the lives of other people, however, we continue to second-guess every move that an 18 to 21-year-old makes. Someone currently highlighting this situation is Oklahoma State Cowboys guard, Marcus Smart.
I should let you in on a little something first — a full disclosure if you will. I personally believe that whatever decision a person makes — even if it is a college athlete — that it is the right decision for them. If Smart sees more benefits or is happier going back to school, who the heck am I to argue with that? I certainly don’t have to live with the decision, and sure don’t know what makes him happy as a member of the human species.
The cons, although, are glaring. Most have had him going in the top five of the draft. Meaning, he was certain to earn more than $10 million during his first contract, the first two years of which are guaranteed. There is also a team option to be picked up in the third year, which is never declined because it would make the GM look like an idiot for drafting the player to begin with.
There is almost no way that Smart can improve his stock next year. As sad as it is true, scouts in the NBA are only going to find more flaws in his game and use it against him. Every year a player stays in school is another year that his “potential” seems smaller and his “flaws” stand out more.
Yes, I also get it has worked out for Trey Burke. However, there are plenty more folks who get hurt by going back. Not to mention, Burke was nowhere near being a top-five pick last season as Smart was this draft. Smart could only move up a spot or two in theory — Burke had plenty of room to navigate his way up draft boards.
The pros are much more simple. Say Smart is happier going back to college, well, then there you have it.
We don’t know what kind of financial situation he or his family is in. Even with “reports” coming out and telling you how much dough he is at risk to lose and how badly his family may need it — we just don’t know.
Then there is the whole thing about whether or not money is that important to him as of right now.
There is the possibility that Smart wants or needs the money, but doesn’t mind holding out for one more year. Yes, he is at risk of losing million, but unless he suffers an injury, Smart will still be in the lottery next season. It might be a different number at the front of the paycheck, but he will still see plenty of zeros at the end of it separated by a couple of commas.
Bashing him for coming back is pretty silly. If you are only looking at the business side of it, I get it. You think the risk does not come close to matching the reward — which you are correct in thinking. But guess what, it is Smart’s decision and not ours. If he is happy, then I am happy for him.
If you are that upset with the move, okay then, just go improve your game and become a potential NBA Lottery pick. That way you could make the decision to go pro, you know, for yourself — not for someone else.
Telling someone else how to live their life is as misguided as to pretend to act like you know what makes them happy. For Smart, apparently going back to school makes him happy.
So, are we all copacetic yet?
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone