Feb 11, 2014, 9:30 AM EST
I wonder whether Marcus Smart regrets his decision to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore year.
Smart, who could have been picked as high as No. 2 by the Magic in last year’s draft, has been projected to be drafted around No. 6 this year. Even though he has shown some improvement, scouts are using the extra assessment time to pick apart his game.
And now, after Smart pushed a Texas Tech fan, NBA teams are picking apart his personality.
“His stock is going to take a hit,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports. “He has shown in the past few months that he is prone to outbursts. He kicked a chair (against West Virginia). He’s under a lot of pressure. The team is not doing well, struggling.
“Fans say things in the NBA every day. He has a history of letting people get under his skin. The NBA fans will test him.”
Spears also quotes, anonymously, other executives who don’t believe this incident will hurt Smart’s draft stock.
Like most analyses of any aspect of any draft prospect, there wasn’t going to be a unanimous opinion. Heck, I bet there is a front-office person who views Smart’s shove as a positive, because it shows his passion.
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Avoiding the complicated question of what rights Smart had when it came reacting to the fan, I do believe Smart should see his draft stock slip drop. NBA teams need players who can maintain their composure in strenuous situations, and the shove at least indicates Smart needs work in that area.
However, I don’t view this incident as an indictment of Smart’s emotional stability. Ditto him kicking a chair and ditto both events presented together.
The shove made huge news, because there’s purported to be an invisible wall between fans and players – not because Smart got more frustrated than other players get from time to time. Any general manager that docks Smart should also dock players who commit frustration fouls, stew on the bench or vent in the locker room. Those types of incidents are, deservedly, lower profile, but they speak just as strongly to a players’ temper – the relevant issue here.
So, yes, I’d lower my grade on Smart as a prospect, but only by a very small amount.
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