The NBA Draft is arguably the most covered and analyzed part of the NBA besides the NBA Finals and Lebron. Yes, we are looking at you SportsCenter (a.k.a LebronCenter).
Analysts, broadcasters, fans and the occasional octopus (see Paul the Octopus) make predictions in sports all the time. Some analysts and other professionals make their living on making correct predictions, whereas most of us lose money, hair or are made to wear an embarrassing Halloween costume. Or maybe that’s just me….
Anyways, where players end up in the draft is one of the most highly predicted events every year. The order is decided ahead of time, with the NBA lottery, traded picks and win-loss records, but GM’s picks are up in the air until Adam Silver announces the names.
Chad Ford of ESPN is probably the closest you can to perfection each year. Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report says it well, “It’s impossible to accurately predict how every general manager will act in the first round of the 2014 draft, but Ford at least gives fans a road map for how the night might unfold after using both his player evaluations and connections inside the league.” So for anyone without connections inside the NBA, mock drafts are as close as we get to knowing what will happen.
For Marcus Smart, the Oklahoma State sophomore phenom and arguably one of the best players in this year’s draft, the draft is wide open. Even with the suspension and a slight decline in stats, Smart will easily be drafted in the lottery this year.
Smart’s combination of speed, strength and leadership make him a player hard to pass up for any team. The question is, high how can this take him?
Marcus Smart has already worked out or talked to most teams in the lottery already, except the Utah Jazz (but who really wants to play for the Jazz right now?). Teams that have shown interest in Smart include: Philadelphia 76ers , Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
These teams have the 3rd,6th and 7th picks in the same order. Matt Moore of CBS Sports has Smart going as high as the Orlando Magic with the 4th pick in the draft. All of these are speculative. The best we can do is look at the information and make our predictions, so here’s my honest opinion:
As much as Oklahoma State fans would love for Marcus Smart to be picked 3rd in the draft, it’s not probable. This does not mean that Smart cannot be picked with the 3rd pick, because when Cleveland has 1st pick in the draft, anything is possible. But with so much talent at the top of the draft, being drafted in the top 3 even with Joel Embiid’s injury and surgery, is still unlikely.
The next 4 picks in the draft go to Orlando, Utah, Los Angeles and Boston. Orlando has need for a point guard to pair with Victor Oladipo but as Conrad Kaczmarek of SB Nation states,” it will be a difficult decision for the team’s front office to choose between Dante Exum and Smart.” The difference now is that Embiid is now an unlikely pick in the top 4 and Dante Exum will most likely be picked up before Orlando can draft him. So Orlando will be Smart’s most likely place to end up and this is my personal prediction.
If for some reason Smart is still available after the 4th pick in the draft, then there are three possible scenarios:
First, Smart is picked up by the Jazz with the 5th pick and dangled for a team to trade for him (Celtics and Lakers). This is unlikely, seeing as the Jazz would not want to be stuck with a player who does not want to play for them.
The second scenario is that Smart is picked up by either the Celtics or the Lakers with the 6th or 7th pick. This scenario is very likely if Smart is not drafted by this time. Both teams need point guards and with Smart’s abilities, it would be an easy decision.
The third and most unlikely scenario is that Smart does not get drafted in the top 7. The next picks that Smart would most likely come off the board would be the 76ers with the 10th or the Magic with the 12th. (Be very surprised if this happens) All in all, Smart is a sure-fire pick for the lottery and has the intangibles to be taken as high as the 3rd pick.
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