Point guard Marcus Smart announced Tuesday that he's staying at Oklahoma State for his sophomore season, surprising NBA draft pundits and shuffling mock drafts everywhere. (For context, ESPN's Chad Ford not-yet-updated big board still shows Smart's listed as No. 2 overall, while Tom Ziller pegged him going No. 5 to the Hornets in his Tuesday morning mock.)
Even though the Pistons' (utterly pointless and frustrating) annual April surge has pushed them out of contention for a top 5 pick, the ripple effects of Smart's decision will be felt all the way down the draft board, as Jonathan Tjarks explains at SBNation.com:
The biggest beneficiaries from Smart's decision are Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams, who immediately shoot to the top of the heap at the PG position. Neither is a perfect prospect: Burke is only 6', 190 pounds and Carter-Williams shot 29 percent from three-point range last year, mostly off uncontested looks. There are cases to be made for both, which is why it will be one of the most fascinating position battles in the draft this year.
3. Burke is the safer and more NBA-ready pick. He was the National Player of the Year in college and there aren't any holes in his game. At the same time, the importance of a good rookie season is overrated. Does anyone care that Tyreke Evans was once Rookie of the Year? In a world where John Wall, Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday exist, it's going to be hard for a player of Burke's size to be an All-Star. So unless you think he's Chris Paul, it's going to be hard to justify taking Burke in the top five, even in a "weak" draft.
4. Just based on his incredible size for the position at 6'6, 185 pounds, Carter-Williams is a force multiplier. Detroit, for example, is a team that may be looking for a PG after moving Brandon Knight off the ball this season. MCW is the best way to salvage that pick because his ability to cross-switch on shooting guards will allow Knight (6'3, 190) to stay on the floor without having to run point. Ideally, you could have a backcourt similar to Jason Kidd and Jason Terry in Dallas. He fits with Jose Calderon, too: imagine being able to have Calderon, one of the best shooters in NBA history, spotting up off the ball.
Personally, I have a hard time believing Joe Dumars (or whomever is running Detroit's front office come June) passes on Burke if he's on the board -- in addition to being extremely polished, his local marketing potential is off the charts. Despite his height, he's strong for his size, efficient shooting the ball and gets everyone involved while protecting the ball. But then again, I'm biased (#GoBlue).
Now your thoughts. Do you think Smart's decision will affect Detroit's plans? Are you hoping the Pistons draft a point guard, or are you hoping to address another position?