Before the draft, ESPN Insider's Kevin Pelton wrote how Marcus Smart ranked tops in this year's draft class in projected WARP (wins above replacement player). His blurb on Smart:
Several factors propelled Smart to the top of the WARP projections. He is young for a sophomore, just 10 days older than Joel Embiid. Smart's projected steal rate is tops for any projected first-round pick, which is important because steal rate has been a strong indicator of NBA success. He is also an excellent rebounder and has been surprisingly good playing against star point guards. Players similar to Smart tend to perform better in the NBA as the professional floor typically is more open, allowing them to create off the dribble.
However, ESPN Insider's Amin Elhassan put Smart on his list of picks he didn't like following the draft:
I like Smart from an intangibles standpoint. By all accounts, he's an excellent teammate, a fierce competitor and charismatic locker-room leader. My question comes on the basketball end of it: He has thrived so far on using his size and strength advantages against smaller, weaker opponents at lower levels of competition. The game in the NBA is creating "separation by threat" -- either by threat of quickness (which he doesn't possess), threat of shooting (a major weakness), or threat of strength (his won't be as big an advantage for him on the pro level).
Further, he isn't polished or experienced enough to be a full-time point guard, so he'll pretty much be learning on the job. There's a lot of speculation that Rajon Rondo is out the door because of this pick, but I don't see how a backcourt of Smart and Avery Bradley (should he be retained) have the creativity to drive and run an offense that isn't even average by NBA standards.