Marcus Smart could’ve been a top ten pick in last year’s draft, but opted to return to Oklahoma State for one more season. While it didn’t help his stock, it definitely didn’t hurt it. Smart was the first player who wasn’t a freshman to be drafted and he goes into an interesting situation in Boston.
One name who has been bandied about in trade rumours like nobody’s business (including on my latest podcast) is current Boston starting point guard, Rajon Rondo. Did the Smart selection have anything to do with the fact Rondo may be on the outer sooner rather than later? Time will tell, but it is definitely an interesting wrinkle thrown in by general manager Danny Ainge. Boston has also brought back free agent Avery Bradley for four-years, $32 million and he will most likely return to the starting shooting guard role.
Where does that leave Smart? Most likely Smart will be the backup at both guard slots, battling Phil Pressey and fellow rookie James Young for minutes. Before I break down the depth chart, let’s look at Smart’s stats from his sophomore campaign at Oklahoma State.
Truly, some superb numbers from Smart and he projects as a multi category beast in fantasy at some stage in his career. A great rebounding guard, as well as a top level scorer and great steals guy, Smart will suffer the problems that besets a lot of rookies and that is poor shooting. The fact that Bradley was resigned may be a blessing for Smart as it will give the Celtics are good scoring guard in the backcourt, taking the pressure of Smart and Rondo, as neither guy is an elite shooter by any stretch. Let’s look at that depth chart now, with last year’s playing time in parenthesis.
PG – Rajon Rondo (33)/Marcus Smart/Phil Pressey (15)
SG – Avery Bradley (31)/Marcus Smart/James Young
PF – Jared Sullinger (28)/Brandon Bass (28)
C – Kelly Olynyk (20)/Vitor Faverani (13)
As you can see, there is competition for minutes in the backcourt, and in a setup like this, I can’t see Smart getting over 25 minutes a game. But, and it’s a pretty monumental but, if Rondo goes and no other point guard is brought back in a trade, Smart could easily play 32 minutes a night. Because of that uncertainty, I’ll provide two projections for Smart — with and without Rondo.
As you can see, if Smart stays in his backup role, his fantasy relevance for this season will be reserved for deep leagues only. These sort of numbers place him around pick 210, so there’d be no need to bother in standard leagues. Let’s look at what happens if we bump his minutes up to 32.
A much better looking line, but where would it rank him? If his field goal shooting is as poor as I suspect, it will be a big drawback on his game and he’d rank around pick 170. In saying that, I’d happily grab him in the last round of my draft and hope he proves my projections wrong. In dynasty leagues, I really love Smart and two to three years from now, he could be putting up 17/6/6 type lines and influencing fantasy leagues in a big way.