Marcus Smart picked by the Boston Celtics with No. 6 pick in 2014 NBA Draft

The Oklahoma State guard heads to Boston, where he will pair with Rajon Rondo in the backcourt.

The Boston Celtics selected Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart with the No. 6 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, a year after the Cowboys star bypassed a chance at going pro to stay in Stillwater.

A potential top-five pick leading into the 2013 draft, Smart returned to school for his sophomore season despite averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. All of those numbers improved during his second season with the Cowboys, but the road wasn’t easy. His athleticism and bulk made him a physical enough defender to average three steals per game his freshman year and 2.9 steals in his second year.

Smart got off to a fine shooting start as a sophomore and showed promise that his jump shot had improved, but those numbers eventually dropped off. He shot just less than 30 percent from three-point range and 42 percent overall, though he was even more focused in 2013-14 at getting to the foul stripe for a team that struggled without his production. Smart averaged 18 points per game and got to the line 8.1 times this past season.

Beyond the numbers, there was a single particular incident, when Smart was suspended three games for shoving an opposing team’s fan, that also helped define his sophomore year. Oklahoma State struggled without its leader, losing all three of those games. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough to significantly drop his draft stock.

Smart will be viewed as a combo guard in the NBA, capable of running the point, but also strong enough to bully shooting guards. He should be immediately capable of impacting the game on the defensive end, but will need to hone his jumper and shot selection to help his efficiency.

This comes as a bit of a surprise for Boston, which already has long-time point man Rajon Rondo and combo guard Avery Bradley on the roster. But Smart figures to play into the mix immediately, giving the Celtics options to trade either of their incumbent guards. Smart is a determined two-way player and will quickly give Boston an edge in its rebuild.

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