BOSTON (AP/CBS) — The rebuilding Boston Celtics drafted guard Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State with the sixth pick of the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Smart averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists as a sophomore last season. He can play both guard positions and could team up with point guard Rajon Rondo or make Rondo expendable in a trade. Rondo’s contract expires after the upcoming season.
Smart said he could see himself playing alongside Rondo in the future.
“I think Rajon Rondo is one of the premiere guards in this league. His hands are humongous, his wingspan is ridiculous and he has a high basketball IQ. I can see myself playing alongside him,” Smart told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton shortly after being drafted.
Smart said he thinks he could play right away for Boston, but will let Brad Stevens and his staff make those decisions when the time comes.
“I understand I have to earn it and that’s what I’m going to do,” Smart said confidently. “I’m going to just play my game and if coach Stevens and the staff thing I deserve to play right away then I’ll play. But if I have to sit on the bench that’s perfectly fine with me; I can learn a little bit more, especially behind Rondo and other veteran guys.”
“We’re really happy and the basketball guys are thrilled,” Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones Thursday night. “It’s the toughness, he’s a bull. He can defend anybody and is a quality offensive player. There is just a lot of power in the kid.”
Smart is a solid defender, but needs work on his overall offensive game. He said he’s been working on his jumper this off-season, but is more than willing to take the ball to the basket with some authority.
One thing that sets Smart above others is his competitiveness.
“I’m the youngest of four brothers, so I have a lot of competitive nature,” he said. “To get a key in my household, you had to stand up for yourself an earn it. I love to compete and I love to play; I’m ready to get started.”
The Celtics are continuing to rebuild after going 25-57, the third-worst record in club history, in their first season under coach Brad Stevens. Smart knows the situation in Boston, and is looking forward to the challenge.
“You have to go through a storm before you see a rainbow and a pot of gold at the end,” said Smart.
The Celtics also had the 17th overall pick on Thursday, drafting Kentucky guard/forward James Young.
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