What is Marcus Smart’s identity or talent on the floor?
First and foremost, he’s an elite defensive player. He combines excellent physical attributes along with his athleticism and IQ, and uses it to his advantage. At a legit 6’2″ in height, with a wingspan over 6’9″, and 220lbs. of strength, he’s able to defend multiple positions on the floor. Not only can he force turnovers at a near three-steals per-40 rate, but he’s also excellent at positional defense. He denies passing angles, penetration angles, and forces his opponents into bad shots. That is not a reflection of his only talent. This is just one side of the floor.
Offensively, he’s a shooting guard playing a point guard position. While he has two years of point guard experience at the NCAA level, he can become a bit turnover prone. There isn’t a lot of shake to his game off-the-dribble. Instead, he attacks the basket hard in a straight line, sheds defenders with his strength, and uses his wingspan to finish against taller defenders. His jumpshot is a work in progress, and while his percentages became more consistent last year, scouts are leery of a hitch in his shot.
His aggression towards the hoop and streaky jumpshooting leads to poor shot selection. Like Aaron Gordon, he’s known for his competitiveness and work ethic, and that may get the best of him when he’s expected to take control of games. If he shows more discipline with his jumpshot, expect his field goal percentage to rise above 42%, and much higher than 30% behind the 3-point line. An underrated aspect of his game is his post game, where he exploits mismatches very well, and is able to pick defenses apart with his passing ability.