- Green Street - http://greenstreet.weei.com -

With his lesson learned, Marcus Smart ready to prove he can play at ‘next level’

Posted By Julian Edlow On June 13, 2014 @ 7:48 pm In General | No Comments

WALTHAM — Marcus Smart has high expectations.

Those expectations include a high draft position on June 26, a long, successful and financially beneficial career and the chance to compete for an NBA title.

Now, the issue is whether the Celtics [1] help Smart fulfill those dreams. The Celtics [1] held a pre-draft workout on Friday morning that featured six guards. The group was headlined by the 20-year-old who spent two seasons at Oklahoma State.

Several mock drafts, including the most recent on WEEI.com’s Green Street [2], have the former Cowboy selected between spots 4-8 on June 26. So, landing in Boston with the No. 6 overall pick is a strong possibility.

“€œI just came out here and competed,” Smart said of his workout, “€œI wanted to prove that I can play at the next level.”€

Coach Brad Stevens [3] had a strong takeaway from watching Smart work out.

“€œI thought he was good, he was physical, he’€™s a leader,”€ Stevens said. “[I] thought he shot the ball well in drills. He’€™s got a way about him that people follow. He’€™s a very tough guy, he competed the whole time. My expectations for him were high in that regard, but he certainly met them. He’€™s going to be a good player.”

Not surprisingly, one of the first questions Smart fielded was about the altercation he was involved with back on Feb. 8 when he shoved a fan at Texas Tech.

“Surprisingly, not many teams have asked me about it,”€ he offered, “€œThey kind of just understand it’€™s the competitiveness in [me]. … And I know I’ve learned my lesson from it.”

Stevens had little concern as well. When asked if he had any concerns about Smart’€™s maturity, Stevens replied, “€œNo, not at all.”

Among the other players Smart worked out with were Zach LaVine, Elfrid Payton, Jordan Clarkson, Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris.

“We’€™re all out here competing,” Smart said about the group. “We’€™re competing, but we’€™re also getting along. … Everybody’€™s out here trying to do one thing, and has one goal, just show teams, you know, hey, we’€™re coming in here and we’€™re ready to play.”

Celtics [1] president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has referenced Smart’€™s “fire” in the past, and Smart was asked Friday if getting under his opponent’€™s skin is something he tries to do.

“I mean, I wouldn’t say that,”€ he said after taking a moment to think about it. “If it happens, it happens,”€ he added.

The biggest takeaway from listening to Smart speak was that he’€™s not afraid to challenge anyone.

“My biggest attribute about me, I’€™m a competitor. I show my best skills when it’€™s game on the line and somebody’€™s guarding me and there’€™s competition,” he said. “So whoever you put in front of me, you know, I’€™m not going to back down. I’ve never backed down from a challenge and that’€™s not me, that’€™s not what my makeup is.”

As all the prospects have been, Smart was asked if he got a chance to speak with Rajon Rondo [4].

“€œActually, no,” he said, although Rondo was in to watch Friday’€™s workouts. But when asked if Rondo was a guy he sees some of himself in, Smart lit up. “€œOh definitely,”€ he responded. “€œThe guy just makes winning plays, on both ends. You know, 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, that’€™s what I’€™m working on. But I can still affect the game in many ways.”

Asked how he was working on his shooting, Smart said: “I’€™m trying to begin at the 3-point line, the NBA 3-point line, just getting up shots and repetition.

As for the issue of Rondo already being in Boston, and if that was a concern to him, Smart had nothing but praise for Rondo and said he would be on board with learning from the veteran.

“€œNot at all,”€ was Smart’€™s immediate reaction as to him being bothered by Rondo’€™s grip on the starting point guard role. “€œRondo’€™s one of the greatest point guards to ever play this game. If I’€™m fortunate enough where Boston picks me, and that means I have to sit on the bench and take after Rondo, that’€™s an honor.”€

Smart also made it clear that money is of no concern to him. He had the chance to potentially be a higher pick had he entered the 2013 draft, but seems very comfortable with his decision to return to school.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Smart said right away. “€œI’€™m going to get drafted sooner or later, if it’€™s then or if it’€™s now, I’€™m still going to get drafted. Everybody thinks it’€™s about your first contract. It’€™s not about your first contract, it’€™s about your second and your third. Not only that, I love playing basketball, so really it doesn’t matter about the money. I think I showed that coming back.”

This was Smart’€™s fifth pre-draft workout. He is scheduled to go on two more.


Article printed from Green Street: http://greenstreet.weei.com

URL to article: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2014/06/13/with-his-lesson-learned-marcus-smart-ready-to-prove-he-can-play-at-next-level/

URLs in this post:

[1] Celtics: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[2] the most recent on WEEI.com’s Green Street: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2014/06/12/weekly-nba-draft-watch-mock-draft-v3-0/

[3] Brad Stevens: http://audio.weei.com/ncaa/coach-brad-stevens.htm

[4] Rajon Rondo: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm

[5] > With his lesson learned, Marcus Smart ready to prove he can play at ‘next level’" data-url="http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2014/06/13/with-his-lesson-learned-marcus-smart-ready-to-prove-he-can-play-at-next-level/">Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[6]  : #disqus_thread

Copyright © 2014 WEEI.com. All rights reserved.