In the end, it all worked out for Marcus Smart. After what was a tumultuous final season at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys star was selected sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2014 NBA draft.
Many wondered whether or not Smart had made a mistake by returning to Stillwater. Through it all, he still went in the lottery and is in a position to thrive in Boston. He can learn from one of the league's best in Rajon Rondo.
Smart is the highest OSU player drafted since Bryant Reeves in 1995 and the highest point guard drafted by the Celtics ever, per ESPN Stats & Info:
The Boston Globe provided a handy scouting report for the Celtics' newest asset:
USA Today's Eric Prisbell thinks Smart will be a great fit for Boston:
Great spot for @smart_MS3. Such a physical, fierce competitor, his shot will improve. After long journey, he'll be impact PG for long time.— Eric Prisbell (@EricPrisbell) June 27, 2014
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated was also a big fan of the selection:
They're gonna love Smart in Boston. Plays his butt off.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) June 27, 2014
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports Network doesn't think the rookie will have any trouble ingratiating himself with the fanbase, either:
Bold move by Danny Ainge. Marcus Smart headed to Boston. Unbelievable competitor. Will be beyond embraced in Beantown.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 27, 2014
One of the knocks on Smart is that he isn't a great shooter. Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk countered that Smart isn't necessarily a bad shooter but more that his shot selection is the problem:
Marcus Smart is less a "bad shooter" than he is a "dumb shooter", as in he took too many dumb jump shots last season.— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) June 27, 2014
Smart may not have long to learn from Rondo, though. Upon his selection, the clock likely began on a trade that would send the Celtics star out of town. With Smart, Rondo and Avery Bradley on the roster, the Celtics are in a position where they could offload their All-Star point guard.
ESPN's SportsNation ventured that the veteran wasn't exactly thrilled with how Boston handled its first pick:
Celtics select PG Marcus Smart... Rajon Rondo right now... pic.twitter.com/gIMzUQPkwO— SportsNation (@SportsNation) June 27, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix wondered if Smart does signal the end of Rondo in Boston:
Smart siting at the table in front of me. He and his team seem very happy to be headed to Boston. Now: Does he play with or replace Rondo?— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 27, 2014
ESPN's Jeff Goodman questioned whether a Smart-Rondo backcourt could succeed:
Boston Celtics take Marcus Smart -- and told that Ainge is not trading Rondo. Not sold those can play together.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 27, 2014
The Celtics now have some flexibility with their personnel, and what they do with Rondo will be one of the ongoing storylines this offseason. Whatever Boston decides, the franchise looks to be headed in the right direction after the addition of Smart.
Celtics fans may have to withstand another year or two without the playoffs, but the team is amassing some young talent with which to build upon for the future.