Top picks adjusting differently at summer league
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Marcus Smart didn’t expect his transition to the next level to happen overnight.
So after a second straight bumpy offensive outing for the Celtics’ rookie point guard at the Orlando Pro Summer League on Monday, the No. 6 overall pick in last month’s draft is trying not to stress.
Smart started strong, before cooling to a 3-for-15, 11-point performance in the Celtics’ 96-77 loss to Indiana on Monday. The effort came just two days after an equally disappointing 2-for-8, 10-point effort in his rookie debut on Saturday.
“Shots didn’t go down, that’s just all it is,” said Smart, who also had four assists and two turnovers. “We’re not really worried about that. We’ve got a lot of talented players on the offensive end and defensive end. Shots are going to fall. Some nights shots aren’t going to fall, and tonight was one of those nights.”
There was also an incident in the second half Monday when Smart and Indiana’s Dee Bost were told by a referee to stop some brief verbal back-and-forth.
No fouls were called, but Smart said the incident was a reminder that players may try to test him mentally this year following his suspension last season at Oklahoma State for shoving a fan.
“As a player, definitely that’s going to stick with me for a long time, the rest of my life,” Smart said. “Wherever I go, whoever I play, that’s what they’re going to know me as. But that was just an incident that happened, that’s not who I really am.
“Of course they’re going to try me. I expect that. I’m a good player and I expect people to try to get me out of the game so it can help them. It’s a great tactic, but like I said, that doesn’t really faze me.”
As far how Smart’s game is evolving on the floor right now, Celtics summer league coach Jay Larranaga said he hopes there is frustration from all the players after Monday’s poor outing.
Asked if he thinks Smart might be trying a little harder right now coming from Oklahoma State where he had to carry the offense at times, Larranaga said it’s part of the adjustment process for any player.
“Very few players can do that at this level,” he said. “I think everybody has to learn that at some point.”
On the other end of the spectrum, both of the Orlando Magic’s lottery pickups had solid second games.
Forward Aaron Gordon, selected No. 4, rebounded from an uneven debut to finish with nine points on 4-for-7 shooting with seven rebounds in Orlando’s 87-69 win over Houston.
“The jitters weren’t really there,” Gordon said. “I guess at the beginning of the game, before the game starts, the jitters are there a little bit. But once the game starts, it’s just playing basketball. I’m having fun out there. Now I’m just adjusting and trying to make the right reads.”
Also, Elfrid Payton, taken at No. 10, followed up his jittery first game Saturday with 12 points on Monday, connecting on all five of his field-goal attempts. He also added nine assists and eight points.
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower