The Celtics brought in a wide array of potential draft picks to Waltham for a set of workouts this week. Names like Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, and Doug McDermott got a lot of headlines, but the man who may have stole the show was none other than Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart. The Celtics are reportedly very high on the hybrid guard who lacks a reliable jump shot but can defend at an NBA level right now at a number of positions.
Smart seemed very open to the possibility of suiting up for the Celtics, even playing behind Rajon Rondo as I noted in a piece I wrote this weekend for Boston.com:
As the top-ranked prospect in this year’s draft field, Smart embraced the opportunity to match up with top-flight competition, a departure from other lottery prospects like Julius Randle who took part in a solo workout Friday morning for Boston.
“I told my agent, Lee Melchionni, you see all these guys dodging,” Smart explained. “My biggest attribute, to me, I’m a competitor. I show my best skills when the game’s on the line, when somebody’s guarding me, and there’s competition.”
Smart continued: “Whoever you put in front of me, I’m not going to back down. I’ve never backed down from a challenge. That’s not me. That’s not what my makeup is. In a sense, it’s kind of showing the teams that it doesn’t matter [who I face]. I’m supposed to be ranked one of the top guards here, but I’m still playing against guys that’s lower [ranked] than me that might have a chance – if they do this, if they do that – to move up in the rankings. But that doesn’t scare me because of who I am.”
It’s unclear at this point just how much of a fit Smart could be for the Celtics, if the team selected him with the sixth overall pick. Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless enter the offseason as free agents but Rajon Rondo remains in place as the team’s leader and point guard. Smart indicated today he would have no problem playing second fiddle to Rondo in the backcourt.
“Rondo’s one of the greatest point guards to ever play this game,” Smart said. “If I’m fortunate enough and Boston picks me, and that means I have to sit on the bench (behind) Rondo, that’s an honor to learn from one of the greatest point guards in that position. Especially with me playing the point guard position, he’s been playing it for a while…It would be an honor.”
You can check out the full piece over at Boston.com.
More on the draft prospects coming tomorrow after another Celtics draft workout.
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