Feb 8, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Robert Tuner (14) tries to block Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) in the second half at United Spirit Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft: Does Marcus Smart Incident Effect Draft Stock?

On Saturday night, the Jazz got a huge upset victory over the defending champion Miami Heat. The crowd was into the game, the Heat were frustrated, and LeBron James had a game he hopes to soon forget. However, as good as the game was for the Jazz, the win was quickly overshadowed by some breaking news out of the college basketball world.

In the final seconds of an Oklahoma State loss at Texas Tech, projected lottery pick Marcus Smart went running down the court to try and attempt to block a dunk attempt by Texas Tech. Smart fouled and fell into the stands. As he was on the ground, a fan yelled down on him and said something that set Smart off. Smart jumped up, turned around, shouted back at the fan who was still chirping at him, and then shoved the fan before being pulled back onto the court. If you haven’t seen the video, check it out here:

The video here doesn’t show a good camera angle of Smart as he is being pulled back onto the court, but in a video shown on Sports Center last night, it gives a pretty good indication on what might have been said. As Smart is looking back and pointing at the fan, it looks pretty clear that Smart is upset over being called an ugly name by the fan. Both the fan and Smart should be held accountable for their actions. As a player, you have to be able to control your emotions and never get into altercations with fans. As a fan, it is totally acceptable to boo opposing players, but there is a line that you can not cross and the fan clearly seems to have crossed it.

Before the incident, Smart was projected to go 6th overall in the draft according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com. After the incident, the Twitter world began wondering how this will effect Smart’s overall draft stock. In my opinion, it shouldn’t cause it to take a big hit. Smart has never been questioned about his character. According to media outlets that are close to Smart, something of this nature is completely out of character for Smart to do.

If anything is going to effect Smart’s draft stock, it will be his poor shooting from the three point line. Smart has been averaging just over 17 points per game, which NBA GM’s will really like, but from beyond the arc, Smart is only shooting 28%. That kind of percentage is something GM’s will look at hard, and it is a percentage that is lower than last seasons percentage. Last season, Smart was nearly just as terrible from downtown, as he shot 29% for the season.

After the NCAA has had time to review the incident, Smart will more than likely be suspended. The length of the suspension will be the question. When it comes time for Smart to sit down and talk with NBA GM’s about his character, the incident will be discussed and more than likely will be a situation that GM’s will look past as it is his first incident doing anything of this caliber. Marcus Smart is still an NBA lottery pick. His talent is undeniable, but his shooting percentage from beyond the arc will be the most looked at thing by NBA teams.

Tags: NBA Draft Utah Jazz

  • Beau Bradshaw

    “As a fan, it is totally acceptable to boo opposing players, but there is a line that you can not cross and the fan clearly seems to have crossed it.”

    Am I missing something? How is clear that this fan crossed the line? I still don’t know exactly what this fan said to set Smart of in the fashion that he was. How can you say that the fan “clearly seems to have crossed [the line]” when we don’t know what was said? We know Smart has a temper and exploded other times this season. For all we know the fan could have yelled “shoulda entered the draft last year, ya bum” and Smart jumps at him. I don’t see something along those lines as “crossing the line”.

    And at what point do you see the line being crossed? At Ole Miss during baseball games the students would sit on a levee in the outfield. Prior to the game we’d look the opponents outfielders up on Facebook and find stuff such as their girlfriends name out. We might yell something as simple as “Hey Smith, tell Lindsay thanks for the other night”. Some players would blow it off seemingly while you could tell it got to others. Some players would give us the single finger salute, meaning their mind was on us and not the game. Now, we didn’t yell anything vulgar, racial, profane, or explicit. Crossing the line, I think not. However something like that may send a player such as Smart into a tizzy. The player needs to have thick skin and let it run off his back. For if they don’t, they are giving the heckling fan the exact result that they are going for and the athletes mind is taken out of the game. At a New Orleans Hornets’ game against the Spurs, a fan brought in a life sized cutout of Eva Longoria to taunt Parker. She was not naked, there was nothing sexualized, and there was not writing on it, but it got to Parker so bad that they had it taken away. I don’t see that crossing the line. Now, if something racial, sexual graphic, or of similar nature is being yelled then I can understand a player losing their cool and in matters like that, the fan needs to be reprimanded.

    Could this incident hurt his draft stock? Absolutely. We’ve already seen how player-fan interactions and arguments disgrace the players and their teams (a la the Pacers-Pistons’ Malice at the Palace). With a new commissioner set to take over, he will likely be looking to make early examples of disciplinary actions to prove that he shouldn’t be thought of as a push over. If Smart indeed is seems to have red flags on his character and have other temper blow ups, a team may say that they’d rather someone else who is a bit more level headed than have a risk of an incident sitting on the bench or on the court.