Boston Makes “Smart” Selection


The class of 2014 offered many great rookies to the NBA. Names like Wiggins, Embiid, and Parker were the highly coveted prizes, sure to take any terrible team to the next level. But one rookie has shined more than expected and exceeded expectations arguably more than any other rookie this year. With the sixth selection, a struggling Boston Celtics organization chose point guard Marcus Smart.

While some Boston faithfuls cheered with joy over the newest addition to the roster, many more greeted the selection with confusion and anger. “Why draft a point guard, we have Rondo?” Now, nearly a year later, former Celtic – Rajon Rondo is at war with a new head coach in Dallas and the selection of the tough rookie Marcus Smart makes a lot more sense.

Mar 22, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo (left) talks with head coach Rick Carlisle in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 98-92. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Or maybe it doesn’t make sense, because Smart was labeled as a “problem”. Following his infamous altercation with a fan during his time at Oklahoma State, many Smart critics said he had no control over himself and would be a problem in the locker room. To the pleasant surprise of the Celtics, Smart has been more of a leader than a problem and has done a solid job leading an NBA offense thus far in his short, yet impactful career.

Stepping into the role left vacant by Rajon Rondo, Smart finds ways to rally his teammates and to the surprise of many, the Celtics are now within reaching distance of a playoff spot behind the young leader.

What else does Smart bring to the table? The easiest answer to that question is defense. Pesky, irritating, stingy defense. He’s long been known for his smothering on-ball D and has quickly adjusted to NBA paced basketball and has done a superb job of locking down some of the leagues best guards. He has great lateral quickness and is adept at intercepting passes and getting on ball steals. He also has a tireless motor allowing him to frustrate opposing guards each and every night.

Mar 25, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) tries to strip the ball away from Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) during the second half of the Miami Heat

But Marcus Smart isn’t merely just a defender. Although he’s no scoring superstar, he definitely can contribute on the offensive end. Using a mixture of strength, speed, and aggressiveness Smart can be tough to defend while attacking the basket. He has a very large frame and can finish through contact.

Obviously he has room to improve but he has great instincts and a knack for making plays for his teammates. He is an unselfish point guard who can draw multiple defenders then kick to the wing to an open teammate. After being labeled as having no outside shot coming out of college, Smart has worked hard on developing a three-point shot and has shot 33% since entering the league. His height and size can make him a nightmare for a smaller guard trying to stop him from getting to the rim.

Celtics fans should be very, very excited about this young talent and potential all-star caliber guard. He brings great defense, leadership, intensity and talent to a Celtics roster who is in dire need of all of the above. Smart has huge upside potential and could be as good as he wants to be. Get ready Boston fans, it’s Marcus Smart time.

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