How will Marcus Smart's weight loss affect his performance

I proudly confess that I am an absolute Marcus Smart fan. Yes, I know his shooting is erratic and he has questionable shot selection. But this guy plays with a fire and determination that we rarely see. I get nervous every time Smart's name surfaces in trade rumors. Information recently came out that Marcus has lost roughly 20 pounds over the summer. That's good news.

Smart was chosen as the sixth pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He was listed at 6'4" and 227 pounds with a 6'9.5" wingspan. All good numbers for an NBA guard. The single questionable measurement was his 10.55% body fat. Out of 60 players measured at the 2014 NBA Draft Combine, only seven had a higher level. The leanest measurement was 3.5% and the "fattest" was 13.6%. Here is DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony's pre-draft comment:

He is somewhat of a power forward in a point guard's body, seemingly enjoying taking contact around the paint with his ripped frame, playing with terrific aggressiveness and absolutely no ego.

Take note of the absolutely no ego portion of the quote. That is part of the high-character attribute that Danny Ainge always looks for. The "ripped frame" would apply if Marcus was just any guy on the street, but he is a pro athlete. In 25 years as a Personal Trainer and Sports Conditioning Specialist, I measured body fat on roughly 1,500 individuals including amateur athletes. A level of 10.55% is just too high for Smart's level of competition.

Fat hampers athletic performance. Muscle can enhance it. A pro male basketball player needs to be in the single numbers, preferably in the five-to-eight percent body fat range. Smart's BF% means he was lugging around 24 pounds of fat in his 227-pound frame during his rookie year and even more when he went up to 240 pounds in the next three years. If Marcus' workouts and nutrition over the summer were in place, rough calculations would show about a 25-pound fat loss over the summer, with a gain of five pounds of muscle. His body fat level may be approximately 8.6%, more in line with what it should be.

What does this all mean? Picture Smart's play on the court with a 25-pound dumbbell strapped to his waist the last couple of years. Now visualize him with that weight gone. This season, the only negative might be trying to defend a strong big like Dwight Howard who is attempting to muscle his way to the hoop. Marcus may suffer a bit there. But his leaping ability, speed, quickness and stamina should all improve significantly.

What I failed to mention was that Smart was able to bench press 185-pounds 19 times at the Draft Combine. This man is a powerhouse. Getting leaner will mean there will be virtually no player that he is incapable of guarding.

He will have the weight, strength, wingspan and fiery determination to guard bigs and the speed and quickness to defend ball handlers and wings. And never forget the fear factor. Marcus instills fear in opponents. He backs down from nobody. Here is another pre-draft analysis, this one via NBAdraft's Jacob Stallard, followed by a video of some of the winning plays Stallard mentions:

Can play with guard position and can also defend multiple positions due to his size/quickness combo…Has a nose for the ball. Will dive on the floor to get loose balls and will rip it out of the offensive player's hands from time to time...Shows flashes of greatness in the pick-and-roll as both a scorer and a passer…Outside shot can be effective when Smart is on his game, making him a great inside-outside weapon...Makes winning plays.

did i just see this guy defend all 5 positions or am i trippin lol"

This is a comment from a viewer of the video. It tells us a lot. Marcus can defend all five positions and do it well. How many players can do that? He will do it even better this season.

Video via JustinLag
Top photo credit: Charlie Riedel/AP
Bottom photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images North America
Pre-draft measurements via NBA draft