Sixers’ Current Standing May Prove “Smart”

Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com

Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com

As of the final day of November, there were only six NBA teams with records worse than that of the 76ers. Following Philly’s amazing start to the season, the team is finally starting to level out a bit and at 6-11, they are looking a little more realistic. Recent wins have been paired nicely with some 3-4 game losing streaks.

When analyzing the teams’ current standing, one can not help but to imagine which prospects may be available in the likely draft range of the Sixers. Taking the current landscape into consideration, the Sixers’ odds at one of the Big 3 may not be too high, but there is another player making noise and the Sixers would be “Smart” to keep an eye on him.

That player is Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart.

The Sixers as of right now appear to be falling somewhere in the 5-7 range in the lottery. Three of the teams with worse records (Cleveland, Brooklyn and New York) have the talent necessary to surpass Philly at some point in the standings so those odds could be improving soon.

All the talk has centered on three names to this point, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle. We touched on those three studs in a recent Wooder Cooler Podcast and by no means should they be overlooked, but Smart could indeed prove to be the best player in this draft.

 

Photo Courtesy of CommercialAppeal.com

Photo Courtesy of CommercialAppeal.com

Smart posted a career-high 39 points against Memphis recently and is improving in a number of ways on his freshman season. Smart is averaging 21.7 points per game, but he is proving to be much more than just a scorer.

The National Player of the Year candidate is also recording 3.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds to go along with an impressive 3.3 steals. The numbers are obviously impressive as too are the intangibles.

At 6″4, 220, Smart has tremendous size and can play either guard position because of his ability to find teammates and also play off the ball and get open for shots. Smart has range out to the three-point line (38.1 3pt%) and can also take smaller guards into the post. His strength allows him to finish over bigger defenders as well.

Smart also possesses a strong second gear and has excellent body control. His ball-handling skills are at an NBA level already and he has the speed to keep up with and defend NBA guards. Those traits coupled with Smart’s quick hands will give him the ability to develop into an elite NBA defender in addition to being an above average scorer.

Photo Courtesy of SportsIllustrated.com

Photo Courtesy of SportsIllustrated.com

Smart also seems to be mature beyond his 19 years of age. He made the decision to return for his sophomore season despite being projected to go in the 1st round last season. He said that he wanted to continue to grow and mature as a player. That is something that so many players fail to do and speaks well for Smart and the people around him.

The Sixers have one part of their future back court in place with Michael Carter-Williams and obviously James Anderson is not the long-term solution at the shooting guard spot. Smart may not necessarily be a prototypical point guard or shooting guard at the next level, but that will not be an issue considering that both he and Carter-Williams have above average size for guards. Also, Smart is well suited to play off the ball if need be.

Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Photo Courtesy of USA Today

This may be a bold prediction, but perhaps a fitting one considering his recent injury, but I see Smart having the ability to be the next Derrick Rose. Smart possesses greater size than Rose and much like the Bull’s fallen star, he is the true definition of a combo-guard. The Sixers’ new coaching staff led by Brett Brown seems geared to developing young talent and they could certainly unlock a star if they can get the most out of Smart.

So, don’t worry too much if the Sixers miss out on one of the fantastic freshmen on the board. There may be a fourth name for Sixers fans to add to their wishlist.

 

Posted on November 30, 2013, in 76ers, Ray Boyd and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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