Smart stands out in workout for Celtics

Smart stands out in workout for Celtics
June 13, 2014, 3:45 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — The six guards the Celtics brought in for workouts on Friday are all highly regarded, but there was one who stood out - Marcus Smart - above the rest.

It wasn't as much about how he performed, but what he had at stake in comparison to the others.

Of the players brought in by the Celtics (that doesn't include Julius Randle who had an individual workout with the team on Friday), Smart is the only one that could potentially be selected prior to the Celtics' pick at No. 6.

Here's coach Brad Stevens' take on Smart's workout:

"Thought he was good. Thought he was physical. He's a leader," Stevens said. "He shot the ball well in drills. I think that clearly he's got a way about him that people follow. He's a very tough guy and he competed the whole time. Which is, my expectations on him were high in that regard. So, but he certainly met them. He's gonna be a good player too."

Smart's reasoning for participating in Friday's workout for the Celtics speaks in part as to why most lottery (top-14) teams like him.

"My biggest attribute, I'm a competitor," Smart said. "I show my best skills when the game's on the line or when somebody's guarding me and there's competition so 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 make-up is."

Still, like most strengths, it can also be a weakness at times when applied incorrectly.

This past February, the former Oklahoma State star was suspended for three games after a shoving incident involving a Texas Tech fan.

As Smart has made the workout circuit, he says few teams have asked him about it, chalking it up to him being ultra-competitive.

"They kind of put it out there, but they want to know who I really am," Smart said. "Everyone can say, 'he's this and that' off of that [incident]. But they [NBA teams] want to really know who I am, get a little deeper into my background."

A league executive from a team Smart worked out for said the incident was a definite topic of discussion.

"But he talked about it a lot in Chicago [at the pre-draft combine] so there's no point in beating that dead horse," the executive said. "We're more concerned with can he make a jump shot, to be honest."

Smart's perimeter-shooting skills may very well be the biggest question mark surrounding his game.

This past season he averaged 18 points per game, but shot just 29.9 percent on 3s and 42.2 percent from the field.

And his 3-point shooting this past season was actually an improvement over his freshman year, when he shot just 29 percent.

A guard whose highly competitive and doesn't shoot particularly well from the field.

Sounds familiar, huh?

It should come as no surprise that Smart is a big fan of Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.

"The guy just makes winning plays at both ends," Smart said of Rondo. "He's not one of the best shooters, but he can still affect the game in many ways. I'm not one of the best shooters; everybody knows that. But I'm working on it and I can still affect the game in many ways."

When watching Smart play, he has a way of getting underneath the skin of opponents whether it be to use his 220-pound frame to bully players trying to defend him or use his length (he's 6-4 with a 6-9 1/4 wing span) to disrupt a team offensively.

"I don't think that's my objective or goal," Smart said. "If it happens, it happens. If I can get under my opponent's skin before the game starts or before a play starts, then I've already won the match."