Rookie point guard Marcus Smart made his professional basketball debut yesterday in the Orlando Summer League, helping the Boston Celtics defeat the Miami Heat, 85-77.
Smart took a while to flash the potential that compelled the Celtics to use the sixth pick in the NBA Draft on him – he went 0-for-4 in the first half – but he had a good reason:
“First half, I’m not going to lie, I was nervous a little bit,” Smart said following a scoreless first half that included an 0-for-4 shooting line and two missed free throws. “It was my first pro game with a new group of guys. It was a little nerve-wracking.”
You wanna talk about nerve-wracking? How do you think opposing teams are going to feel going up against the bruising Smart, who had a game-high five steals? There’s one word that will be used to describe Smart the majority of his rookie campaign – take it away, Jay Larranaga!
I asked Jay Larranaga what excited him most about Marcus Smart’s performance today. He said, “You just love his toughness.”
— Marc D’Amico (@Marc_DAmico) July 5, 2014
Smart also finished with ten points, five rebounds and only one turnover as he spent the game alternating between the point guard and the shooting guard positions. Overall, Smart provided Celtics fans with a glimpse at both the stronger and the weaker points of his games:
- Physicality. Smart got the charity stripe a team-high eight times, connecting on six of his free throws.
- Win-at-all-costs mindset. Smart contributed to the Celtics’ victory at both ends of the court, and as Larranaga put it,
He’s about winning, I think is what you see. He’s not about one thing or another thing. Like any young guy, he has a lot of stuff to work on, but the really exciting thing is that he wants to win.
- Shooting. Smart finished the game going 2-for-8, including an atrocious 0-for-5 from behind the arc. Try to picture Smart playing the 2 alongside Rajon Rondo . . . I can hear the ball clanging off the rim now!
Don’t worry – I know it’s only the summer league. Just reporting the facts, y’all!