Marcus Smart officially declares for 2014 NBA Draft
To many the declaration appears to have come one year late, but Oklahoma State University PG Marcus Smart has officially declared for the 2014 NBA Draft. In a private interview with The Oklahoman, Smart repeated his continued line that he has no regrets about returning to school for his Sophomore year rather than declaring for the 2013 draft. Many draft experts believed he would have likely been the Orlando Magic’s second overall choice last year.
“I had a great season here at Oklahoma State,” Smart said. “It’s weird, because I didn’t go to the NBA Draft last year, I chose to come back – which I do not regret at all. A lot of people say I made the wrong decision. But who are they to tell me what I should have done? It’s me, not them.” – Smart, to The Oklahoman
This year, should the Orlando Magic remain slotted in the top-3, it’s not as likely that Smart would end up in blue and white. Should the Magic tumble to the fourth or fifth draft slot, it’s likely that Smart will be competing for the Magic’s admiration with fellow top-tier PG Dante Exum. Should other players rise and Smart begin to fall throughout the draft process, he could very well be in play with Orlando’s second 1st round pick which looks to be either the 11th or 12th selection (the worst pick out of the Nuggets and Knicks – WoNK).
We chronicled Marcus Smart to a great extent at this point last year and why he would be a great fit in Orlando. Despite a season in the spotlight – one where he obviously was not managing expectations or anger well – those intangibles are still present. Despite increasing his numbers across the board (literally in every category), the kicking of chairs and shoving of a fan are the lasting memories of his return. The area that NBA teams were most concerned with, shooting, also didn’t make a consistent leap forward and the 30% shooting from the college three-point line is still a glaring deficiency.
The best hope for Orlando in this scenario is that teams will sour on Smart and lose site of the big picture allowing the Magic to pick him up in the late lottery. He is an extremely talented, tough-minded physical player. Teaming Smart up with Victor Oladipo could create the best defensive backcourt in the NBA for the next 10 years – and assuming they don’t combine for 10 turnovers a game, could be the framework for a return to success that sets the franchise apart from their competitors.