The Toronto Raptors will spend most of their time deciding if a player like Jalen Suggs or Evan Mobley should be the team’s selection at No. 4 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, but they also need to iron out a plan for the No. 46 and No. 47 overall picks. After a strong workout, LSU guard Javonte Smart might have wiggled his way into their draft plans.
Smart, a Baton Rouge native, was a former top recruit who chose to stay local and play for the Tigers. A three-year starter, Smart averaged 16.0 points, 4.0 assists, and 1.3 steals per game while helping LSU make it to the NCAA Tournament.
With the Raptors apparently looking to add some shooting at this point in the draft given the type of players that they have brought in for workouts, and Smart’s performance in Toronto might’ve been enough to convince the team to take a chance on him.
Per Cody Taylor of RookieWire, Smart recently set a Raptors record for makes in a full-court “star drill” with 52, showing that his potential as a 3-and-D standout in the NBA could be realized if the coaching staff develops him appropriately. He should absolutely be in play in the second round.
What would Javonte Smart bring to the Toronto Raptors?
Smart is a bigger point guard at 6-4 and slightly over 200 pounds, and he plays like it. In addition to tremendous explosion and ball-handling, Smart can both use his size to get easy buckets inside and rise up from 3-point range and make shots from beyond the arc at a 40% clip.
On defense, Smart can hound opposing guards, as his tenacity paired with a solid wingspan and frame will make it tough to get any air against him. This could help him carve out a role in the pros without having to be coached up on the finer points of defense in the G League.
Smart has some flaws that he needs to improve before he can become an NBA star. He is way too turnover-prone on the offensive side, and his shot selection has been called into question. Given his frame and style of play, some teams might view him as a bigger point guard and some a traditional off-ball guard. That tweener tag could hurt his stock.
Even with those qualifications, Smart was a bucket in college despite playing in a very tough conference, and his performance in workouts could sell Toronto on drafting him. As either a point guard or combo guard that plays off-ball, Smart has a ton of value.