Duke, 6'3, 190 lbs.
Solid and steady essentially describes Nolan Smith. Nolan essentially displays a solid all around game, but does not stand out at in any particular aspect. Solid athlete, solid defense, solid facilitator, solid shooter, and high basketball IQ describes his game.
Offensively, Smith plays well using the pick-and-roll. He can set up teammates with his steady ball distribution, slither inside, or knock down the mid-range shot. Smith is an opportunist. He isn't a great creator off the dribble nor he does possess great athleticism at the rim, but he will find seams to get a shot off or find the open man.
He's a very steady ball-handler, so teams should not have to worry about his ability to be a combo guard. Smith virtually carried Duke this season offensively.
Defensively, while nothing stands out, Smith should defend the point guard position well. He plays with above average with lateral quickness, quick hands, and a high basketball IQ. He can limit penetration, get his hands on the occasional ball, and slow down teams in the half-court. He will need to gain strength in the leg base to contain pick-and-rolls at the next level.
While Smith will probably be a combo guard at the next level, he will struggle defending post-up shooting guards. He lacks the height and strength to stop a post up shooter. He can defend shooting guards that are more suited towards running around screens or stationary shooters.
Overall, Nolan Smith reminds me of a taller, better Mario Chalmers. He is not a guy that should be drafted as a starting, creating point guard, but a solid player that can be a spot starter or good role-playing bench player for a good team.
Coming out of college, Nolan is a better scorer than Chalmers, provides two more inches than Chalmers, and can play some shooting guard. Nolan should have a long career in the NBA even though he has a limited ceiling.
How he fits with Bulls?
If unable to trade up and take a risk of drafting a more high potential player, trading for a vet, or drafting an impact player such as Marshon Brooks, I am happy to say that Nolan Smith fits one of my top five picks at this junction of the draft and would consider him a steal.
He will probably slide down the draft only because NBA front office seems to go for potential over productivity. Smith should contribute to a team, but his limited ceiling will dissuade teams looking for a larger impact.
Nolan's the kind of rookie any coach can get on the floor because of his high IQ and ability to play without making a bunch of rookie mistakes. He likes like a glue guy that will get playing time right away and do the little things to win.
Nolan would do wonders here as a more solid backup than C.J. Watson as he provides a little more stability and isn't as streaky as a shooter. While Gar's favorite phrase seems be "having flexibility," Nolan would allow for more depth and also for C.J. to be expendable with the right deal.
GarPax did a masterful job signing Korver, Watson, and Brewer to their flexible contracts and making them exciting trade bait for the future. Shoring up a player such as Nolan Smith would allow for us to have a great backup at small cost. Also, the championship pedigree, high IQ player, and maturity seem to fit the Bulls mo for later picks.