Marcus Smart is going to be a great player in the NBA. Whether or not he'll start his career in Boston is up to Celtics GM Danny Ainge and the lottery gods.
I've already gone over why I think Smart would be a spectacular pick for Boston here and here's his combine interview but for a quick recap:
-Strong as hell
-Can score inside against anyone a la Russell Westbrook
-No slouch on defense
-Jumper needs work
Pairing Smart with Rajon Rondo, either as a potential Rondo replacement or as a two-guard, would give Boston a very athletic back court going forward. If the Celtics can hold onto Avery Bradley and turn him into the team's sixth man, you're talking about a guard rotation that would wreck havoc on the league defensively. A shooter or two would have to be added to the roster for offense, but Bradley showed marked improvement on his jumper this year and Smart's is far from broken.
Depending on where Boston's first-round pick lands in the lottery Tuesday, Smart could be the best player available or if Smart slides a bit, Boston could use their first rounder from Brooklyn and the plethora of other assets they have to move up and grab Smart.
Over the past few days, Ainge has been busy meeting with every potential player who could end up in green this summer. A potential red flag for Smart involves an incident last season where he was suspended three games for shoving a fan. Here's what Ainge had to say about Smart as well as that incident from Chris Forsberg at ESPN:
"I sorta like Marcus Smart. I like his fire," Ainge said while appearing on ESPN's combine broadcast during the second day of on-court activities from Quest Multisport in Chicago. "I don’t know all the details of that, haven't researched that yet, but we will look into that. But [it won't affect his draft stock] much. I think he’s a great kid, a great player and I think he’ll have a bright future."
"I want passion," said Ainge, who then quipped, "I got myself in trouble a few times on the court. I don’t worry too much. I’d much rather try to calm a player down than try to light a fire under somebody. I’m a big fan of passionate players."
If you read that and wondered, 'Then what the hell was Ainge thinking when he signed Jeff Green to his current contract?' You wouldn't be alone. But I digress.
Smart may not be the first, the second or even the fifth name that pops into your head when thinking potential Celtics rookies, but if Boston does somehow snag Smart, you won't be disappointed. And the rest of the league will be put on notice, your guards better bring their A-game when playing against the Celtics.
@ericblaisdell13 Eric Blaisdell 5/17/2014 02:25:00 PM Tweet