The 2014 Draft: Andrew Wiggins? Joel Embiid? Or Marcus Smart?

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Jan 18, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) drives to the basket against Kansas Jayhawks forward Tarik Black (25) in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Smart has the characteristics of a point guard that Laker fans would love to see.  He’s an aggressive player, a defensive hound, and built like a running back.  More importantly though, he’s the leader of Oklahoma State and of Team USA U-19, and it showed in one dramatic play.  Le’Bryan Nash was frustrated on a call where Embiid blocked his shot.  Nash looked ready to yell at the refs.  Marcus Smart came up to Nash and covered his mouth up before anything could be said.  It wasn’t that Nash had a frustrating game.  It was Smart who was aware that he was frustrated, and did the right thing for the team.  Smart struggled to create shots in isolation and forced up a few jumpshots early on.  It didn’t prove effective and the interior defense of Kansas had gotten to Oklahoma St.  Smart compensated with NBA-level ball-anticipation for steals, forcing turnovers, and creating opportunities for other teammates.  It lead to open 3-point shots and kept Oklahoma competitive in the 1st half.  After halftime, Smart adjusted his game by playing in the post.  There, he drew constant double teams and kicked out to shooters; primarily Markel Brown and Phil Forte III.  The two shooters combined for 12 total 3-point field goal makes, and helped spur on a Oklahoma State run to cut the lead down to three.  While he struggled from the field on 3 of 14 shooting, and missing all of his 3-point attempts, his aggressive play lead to 10 of 10 made free throws, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 steals on just 2 turnovers.  He was showing a leader’s ability to win, even when he’s not hot himself.