With Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Jameer Nelson out of our hair, Marcus Smart finally has room to grow as he will have more minutes in the Celtics rotation. Right now, Smart averages 21.2 minutes per game, but that number will increase as Smart and Pressey are the only natural point guards for the Celtics. In those 21.2 minutes, Marcus is averaging 6.5 ppg, 2.2 apg, and 2.7 rpg. Due to the small sample size, we cannot legitimately judge how well the 20-year-old rookie is adapting to life in the NBA. We can, however, compare Smart to the other rookie guards and their stats per forty minutes, that way they will all be on a level playing field.
There were 5 lottery guards in the 2014 draft class, all of whom have different skillsets and play styles.
(Remember these numbers are per 40 minutes played)
Dante Exum, the first of the rookie guard, boasts a 10.5 ppg, 3.0, 4.1 apg stat sheet.
Marcus Smart, the Celtics next point guard, has 12.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 5.1 apg.
Nik Stauskas of the Sacramento Kings currently holds a mediocre 10.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, and 1.9 apg.
Elfrid Payton, the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, is playing hard with his 10.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 8.2 apg.
Zach LaVine, who is playing better than projected, averages 14.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 5.9 apg.
If you stayed with me through all of these stats, I thank you.
Smart surprisingly is near the top in all three of these figures. He is the second best scorer and rebounder of the bunch, and the third best playmaker. His well-rounded archetype separates Smart from the lot, and he may prove to be a jack-of-all-trades player. We already know Marcus is an intense defender with his 6’4” 220 lb build, so some minor improvements to his offensive abilities would make him an all around player and valuable asset for this young budding team.
Marcus himself acknowledges his offensive deficiencies, as he was recently quoted via ESPN's Chris Forsberg saying:
The biggest knock on my game coming into the league was that I couldn't really shoot…over the last 12 or 13 games, I think I've been shooting the ball pretty well.
Smart is right, in the last 7 games that he played (the month of January) he has averaged 8.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, and 3.7 apg. He is steadily improving his game and gaining confidence in his shot; if this keeps up he will be a great piece on this team for years to come.
In the battle of the lottery guards, though, Orlando's own Elfrid Payton takes the cake. He has already proven to be a strong playmaker and defensive presence on the floor and Orlando will be the ideal location for him to develop. Payton appears capable of being a point-assist machine in the future, all he needs now is time.
The notorious Smart Smirk.
In the battle of the best player-picture among lottery guards, sadly Marcus Smart flops. While all of the others also don goofy grins (with the exception of Zach LaVine, the clear winner) Marcus Smarts is by far the worst. Everyone looks a little uncomfortable in theirs, Smart's is just creepy.