Mar 5, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) dribbles the ball up court in front of Southern Methodist Mustangs guard Nick Russell (12) during the first half at Moody Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft 2014: Executives skeptical of Russ Smith

Louisville Cardinals’ guard Russ Smith is one of the most well-known players in college basketball.

After helping the Cardinals win a national championship last season, Smith decided to return to school.

Despite all of his success, NBA executives don’t see him as much of an NBA player and many view him as a second round pick.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated has the scoop.

“He’s a very good college player,” a Western Conference executive said. “But when I watch him, I don’t see a guy who makes his teammates better. It’s all about him getting shots and scoring.”

Said an Eastern Conference executive: “There are certain things that I really like about him. I really like how competitive he is. I like how he gets to the basket, how he can get any shot he wants. But he’s a combo guard. The guys that are small combo guards that make it work — Nate Robinson, for example — are few and far between. Nate is far more athletic than Russ. It takes a really special guy to be a small spark plug off the bench, and I don’t see it in him.

“He doesn’t take great shots. I don’t know any coach in the NBA that will allow him to take those shots.”

This season, Smith is averaging 18.0 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Tags: Louisville Cardinals NBA Draft NBA Draft 2014 Rick Pitino Russ Smith

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