At least one general manager believes Marcus Smart’s draft stock will drop due to shove

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I wonder whether Marcus Smart regrets his decision to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore year.

Smart, who could have been picked as high as No. 2 by the Magic in last year’s draft, has been projected to be drafted around No. 6 this year. Even though he has shown some improvement, scouts are using the extra assessment time to pick apart his game.

And now, after Smart pushed a Texas Tech fan, NBA teams are picking apart his personality.

Via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“His stock is going to take a hit,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports. “He has shown in the past few months that he is prone to outbursts. He kicked a chair (against West Virginia). He’s under a lot of pressure. The team is not doing well, struggling.

“Fans say things in the NBA every day. He has a history of letting people get under his skin. The NBA fans will test him.”

Spears also quotes, anonymously, other executives who don’t believe this incident will hurt Smart’s draft stock.

Like most analyses of any aspect of any draft prospect, there wasn’t going to be a unanimous opinion. Heck, I bet there is a front-office person who views Smart’s shove as a positive, because it shows his passion.

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Avoiding the complicated question of what rights Smart had when it came reacting to the fan, I do believe Smart should see his draft stock slip drop. NBA teams need players who can maintain their composure in strenuous situations, and the shove at least indicates Smart needs work in that area.

However, I don’t view this incident as an indictment of Smart’s emotional stability. Ditto him kicking a chair and ditto both events presented together.

The shove made huge news, because there’s purported to be an invisible wall between fans and players – not because Smart got more frustrated than other players get from time to time. Any general manager that docks Smart should also dock players who commit frustration fouls, stew on the bench or vent in the locker room. Those types of incidents are, deservedly, lower profile, but they speak just as strongly to a players’ temper – the relevant issue here.

So, yes, I’d lower my grade on Smart as a prospect, but only by a very small amount.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.