Well, folks, today is the semifinals. As the draft is a day away, Hornets fans are definitely getting excited about who could be there with the No. 9 pick. In today's At The Hive 9th Pick Tournament semifinals matchup, we have a classic. Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott square-off to see who will advance on to the finals tomorrow.
Also, we have a new person with me today -- and it's At The Hive's big boss, Ben Swanson!
I took Smart, while Ben took McDermott. Enjoy!
Evan (Marcus Smart): Looking for a deadly backcourt that can create havoc? You've found the answer here with Marcus Smart. Also, another factor, which I love, is how well he grades out in multiple analytics categories.
One thing that is a positive for Smart -- and one which would be a major asset to the Hornets' offense -- is how often he attacks and gets to the basket. A high volume of his shots from last season came from inside the paint, and he hit 67 percent of them. That's an impressive number for a guard, I must say. This shows, with time, he could create major mismatches down in the post on guards, where he could feast for easy shots off of post-ups with his thick frame.
Sure, he's not consistent outside of the paint, but you can never go wrong with having aggressive ball handlers who can attack the rim at any time he pleases.
Another weapon in Smart's arsenal is his lockdown defense. From an individualized standpoint, Smart's adjusted defensive rating was an 88.9 -- that equals out to be the best guard in the draft, by far, on defense. Pair him with Steve Clifford's defensive system, and I think we have the makings of an All-NBA defensive player.
Can you imagine when Smart and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are on the floor together? Oh my, that spells trouble for whoever plays on the perimeter that night against the Hornets.
Smart's steal percentage -- which is at 5 percent -- also comes out as another positive. Steal percentage is one of the advanced stats that many believe translate to the NBA, and Smart up near the top of this year's draft crop.
From a fit standpoint, I believe sliding him into the starting rotation at shooting guard would be the right move. Him and Walker would cause havoc on offense, while he and Kidd-Gilchrist do the same on defense. We have a player that Charlotte has been looking for to produce on both ends, and he's right here for the taking. Personally, I have Smart rated higher than most on my big board, due to how much I am into the analytics side of things, but he backs it up with his sky-high potential as a possible award winner on offense and defense.
So, overall, it looks like we have the prototypical three tool player here with Smart. He has the analytics to back his numbers up, is an aggressive scorer (which Charlotte desperately needs to find another one of), and is a tenacious defender on the perimeter.
There you have it, readers. Marcus Smart should move on to the finals, and it's not even that close. He's the perfect fit, all-around, for this Hornets team. Right now, I'd put my money on Smart to win this tournament, but who knows with how many Nik Stauskas fans there are on the site.
Ben (Doug McDermott): Doug McDermott is a very good shooter. I know this. You know this. Everyone knows this. His shooting is the most visible and notable part of his skill set. He shot almost 50 percent behind the arc for his sophomore and junior seasons at Creighton. The Hornets need shooting. That the Hornets will draft the best shooter available in McDermott is far from an uneducated guess for anyone to make.
But there's also some other parts of his game that could make him a more versatile offensive weapon than just as a sharpshooter. His jump shot is mechanically great: repeatable, and not just from a set shot. He can hit it off the dribble or off a screen. Though he might not be a magician in the post, he's capable of handling the ball with his back to the basket or facing up, and can hit fading turnaround jump shots. He was fine finishing at the rim in college, but could have more difficulty against longer defenders in the NBA.
His defense is far from good. He had staggeringly poor steal and block rates, so don't expect him to lock down opponents or protect the rim. However, he's pretty active and knows where he should be on the floor.
Though McDermott draws comparisons to former Charlotte Bobcat Adam Morrison, I don't see them as being that alike in their game. McDermott is a much much much much better shooter than Morrison ever was, and he isn't expected to create by himself from the perimeter as much as Morrison was thought to. McDermott's also much more athletic than he gets credit for, with a max vertical measured at 36.5 inches, half a foot better than Morrison, who had similar height measurements and a lower draft weight. And then you can talk about mindset, and things look noticeably different.
McDermott's ceiling isn't astounding and perhaps lacks potential to develop much further, but he also doesn't come with a whole lot of risk, I feel. The Hornets could really use a player with his shooting and decent all-around game.