Even if the Wizards never had any intention of drafting Marcus Smart, the Oklahoma State point guard's surprising decision to stay in school for another year has ramifications in Washington.
Smart's removal from a draft class devoid of superstars is almost certain to influence who is available when the Wizards make what should be a top 10 pick. Smart was a lock to go in the top five, if not higher.
"I am aware of how much money I'm giving up," Smart, 19, told a cheering audience at a news conference in Stillwater, Okla., on Wednesday afternoon. For those keeping score at home, that's forgoing a guaranteed $7.29 million over two years had he been chosen No. ?3 overall. That will be harder to achieve next year should he join a class likely to include Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison and his twin brother, Aaron Harrison.
Clearly the money doesn't matter, but then it often doesn't -- and comes later, anyway -- for guys like Smart, who is regarded as a winner. That's what he did in high school with his best friend, Phil Forte, who is still his roommate and teammate, as he has been since third grade. The Cowboys also have back Le'Bryan Nash and Markel Brown, giving them the top three returning scorers in the Big 12 next year.
Smart won the Big 12 player of the year award and the Wayman Tisdale award given to national freshman of the year. He was a second-team Associated Press All-American, averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
Imagine, just for a moment, if he had gotten the chance to hone his skills behind John Wall, who believes the Wizards are already a complete team if healthy. Maybe they could have refined their jump shots together. Sure, it's unconventional, but is there another player available this June who is poised and ready to contribute and doesn't come with some risk?
Unless they win the May 21 NBA Draft Lottery for the second time in four years, the Wizards probably aren't picking in the top three, anyway. But thanks to Smart, there will be one less player available when they go on the clock.
- Craig Stouffer