Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart Rises Into Lottery Pick

        In what was seen as a relatively weak NBA Draft for point guards, one freshman has emerged and risen to not just first-round pick, but a future lottery pick to run a team at the next level: Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State is a first-time starter at point guard and still the learning the position with plenty to work on, yet he has gotten rave reviews for his production, physical profile and skill set thus far.

        For Oklahoma State, freshman point guard Marcus Smart could be seen as the sole reason for Oklahoma State's resurgence in contention in the Big 12 this season. After all, the team has no legitimate threat in the frontcourt and former top-player, Le'Bryan Nash is shooting just .241 percent from 3-point range.

        Enter Marcus Smart. As a starting point guard, the prospect has great size at 6'4", 225 pounds which allows him to play either guard spot really, but most of it handling the offense and utilizing the second highest possession rate in the Big 12. Smart attacks the defense relentlessly which leads to plenty of mid-range jumpers, floaters and pull-ups in the paint, but most importantly, a large number of free-throws. Smart has the second-highest free-throw rate in the conference this season, making about 80 percent of his attempts, while getting opposing guards in trouble and off the floor.

        This aggressive mentality translates to Smart's ability to read the defense and find the open shooter or more likely, slashing wing, for the set-up of an easy bucket (he is one of the national contenders for assist percentage). And Smart is not afraid to mix things up on the glass despite playing on the perimeter- averaging 6 rebounds per game- using his size, strength and physicality to body up defenders and impose his presence.

By NBA-DRAFT.com Staff Writer - 1 -14- 13