With all of these draft picks, does Russ Smith fit for the Suns draft class of 2014?
If the Suns are looking for the intangibles that they want in a point guard from this draft, this is definitely one of the guys. The former Louisville star is a fantastic ball handler who has a lot of speed and loves to push the tempo. I wonder what NBA team has point guards that like to do the same? Smith also has a great ability to break down defenses by getting into the paint to create for himself and others. Honestly, he reminds me a lot of Ish Smith but with a higher upside because of his ability to score. If the Suns do not plan to move forward with Ish, I can see them selecting the former National Champion Smith with the 50th overall pick in the second round.
We all know that what comes with the Ryan McDonough-era in Phoenix is a heavy does of analytics. Well Russ Smith is a two-time KenPom Player of the year. According to KenPom.com, Smith posted a 114 offensive rating, while using 31 percent of the Cardinals’ possessions when he was on the floor. That was the fourth-highest offensive rating among players using at least 30 percent of their team’s possessions. In common person talk, he is really good and very efficient when the ball is in his hands.
Career Highlights: A starter for the 2013 National Championship team with Louisville that actually went through Phoenix for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. In that tournament, he averaged 22.5 points and just under three steals per game in the road to the Final Four. He was named to many All-America teams over his career and most recently in 2014 on the John Wooden All-American list.
Strengths: Speed, ball handling, scoring, pressure perimeter defense, leadership.