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Russ Smith
Ht/Wt: 6' 0" / 165 lbs
Position: PG
Team: Louisville
Class: Senior

2014 Draft Profile - Russ Smith

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2013 Draft Profile - Russ Smith

Junior point guard Russ Smith is something of a polarizing prospect. At only 6ft, with outstanding length for his size, Smith is a blur when he comes off the bench for Rick Pitino. You won't often see a guard with the pure mesmerizing speed that Smith has. One immediately is reminded a bit of Rajon Rondo. Like Rondo, Smith is a defensive attacker. As an on-ball defender, few players in the country are as scary as Smith. On offense, Smith also reminds one of Rondo, because he shot a weak 36% from the field last year. That has improved to the low forties this season, however, and Smith is clearly working on his mechanics.

He is not, probably, what one would call an elite distributor. In that sense, he also brings to mind Ty Lawson. Smith is happy as a default setting, to take it to the basket. Altogether, his attitude is always one of attack -- at both ends of the court. However, few players can change the character of a game the way Smith can when he comes off the bench. Smith has a jet like first step, and can blow past weaker defenders with ease, but often is too aggressive against better competition.

How that projects to his future in the NBA is something worth pondering. He gets to the line quite a bit, though, and shoots a respectable 78%. Smith has improved each year, has obviously listened to the tutoring of Pitino, and to my mind, looks to be a very tantalizing prospect based just on his superior defensive skills. He anticipates passes, can reach around and disrupt dribbles, and always seems to be racing to where the ball is. He led the NCAA in steals last year. In transition, nobody gets down the floor faster.

The only negatives are that he is often a bit out of control, and isn't an elite shooter. He finishes ok, but again, not as well as he should. But if you want defense ....Smith is the guy. Half court offenses, like San Antonio are not going to be ideal settings for Smith, but teams such as Denver or Charlotte....anywhere the idea is to run, that's Smith territory.
Player profile submitted by: John Steppling - Jan. 8th 2012

Would you like to write a player profile for any prospect that may be entering the 2013 NBA Draft? Email profiles of any player (even player’s not on our list) to our Webmaster. Credit will be given to the author of the profile.






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