Marcus Smart June 2014

In the 2014 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic have very quality options to chose in this deep class filled with what it's often said to be the best available talent since the legendary 2003 draft class which featured the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and so on.

Although things are getting even more confusing now with injury of the potentially first pick Joel Embiid due to a foot injury, which will most likely shake the order of the Draft, the Magic are now in a such position in which they should select Marcus Smart out of Oklahoma State with the fourth pick.

Marcus is a talented player whose physicality, great skill set and high intelligence that allow him to display his versatility on either side of the court. On top of that, he's only 20 years with extremely high upside and he brings terrific intangibles every time he's on the floor.

Smart's physical tools are up with anyone's in this class. He possess a nice combination of size, strength and speed which make his athleticism to be among the very elite. He can absorb contact, moves laterally well and the numbers back it all up.

He stands at 6-foot-4 and weights 227 pounds, making him the heaviest player at the point guard position in Draft Combine history. He's got a bit over a 6-foot-9 wingspan along with a 36-inch max vertical. He also posted a very impressive 10.82 lane agility time, faster than the likes of John Wall, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook etc.

On offense, he is primary a slasher who makes his living in the paint, can get to the rim consistently and finishes nicely in the crowd. He finished around 55 percent of his looks inside last year at Oklahoma, and likes to push the tempo in transition where he does a ton of damage to opposing teams.

He also can post up smaller opposing defenders and take advantage as well. Besides being a capable scorer, Smart is an excellent playmaker who creates nicely for others, can lead teammates for easy points in variety of ways but he excels most at the drive and dish.

Despite often being criticized for being a poor jump shooter, his shot selection seems to be the real issue as he often settles into a bunch of tough shots more often than not. He's a capable shooter who struggles with his consistency, so improving in that area as well as the selection is a must for him.

Although there are few concerns for his offense, that isn't the case for his abilities on the other side of the court. Marcus is highly praised for his defense, an area of basketball where he could significantly help the struggling Magic and form a great partnership with Victor Oladipo.

Smart uses his built, physicality, lateral quickness and aggressiveness to make his presence felt defensively. He harasses opposing offensive players anywhere on the court on top level and thanks to being a physical specimen, he can defend forwards as well on an impressive way too.

Besides being a lockdown stopper, he's also an outstanding team defender. His remarkable instincts, anticipation and quick hands allow him to make chaos on the passing lanes. Additionally, he's got high IQ and understands positioning well to do the correct play.

Orlando would certainly benefit from having him around for his excellence on the other side of the floor. That's not what he does do out there. For a guard, Marcus is an exceptional presence on the glass as the eye test and stats back it up, even though rebounding isn't exactly appreciated skill for the "little" guys.

Nonetheless, the Oklahoma State guard isn't afraid to get physical. In fact, Smart's will to do everything and doing it on a high level make him an elite prospect. He also has strong competitive edge to him, hates losing, does the little things and puts his body on the line consistently.

Those things have been pointed out earlier by the scouts and NBA teams love that side of him. Of course, he has weaknesses such as any other soon to be rookie in the league because of him being an emotional and highly competitive person, but all of that can and should be channeled properly.

The Magic may have even options now with Joel Embiid's injury and things cannot get too certain when the actual thing happens, but Marcus Smart should be among their top choices for sure.


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