Boston Celtics: Report card grades for C’s guards in 2021-22

According to MassLive's Brian Robb, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, and Payton Pritchard are not all guaranteed to be Boston Celtics beyond this season (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
According to MassLive's Brian Robb, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, and Payton Pritchard are not all guaranteed to be Boston Celtics beyond this season (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

2021-22 has been a tale of two different Boston Celtics teams: one that hurt our heads, and one that won our hearts.

Now, with the regular season in the rearview, we fans can go on to look at the year that was in quite an objective light which, in turn, allows us to objectively analyze each contributor for this unbelievably impressive ball club.

Today, we start in the backcourt, shelling out a letter grade for each guard to have stepped foot on the court for the team in a prominent manner, involving both the one and the two.

This will be part of a week-long player grade series that will be divided into three parts: guards, forwards, and centers.

Many good fortunes and disappointments befall this group of seven qualifying guards. To qualify for this series, players need to have played a part in the rotation at some point in the year.

The grading system ranges from A-plus down to an F–we promise to explain in detail what criteria we’re basing the grades on from a completely objective point of view.

We will begin with our starting backcourt of Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart and go down the line in terms of the pecking order of this Boston Celtics team.

Let’s get into the report card grades for C’s guards in 2021-22:

The Boston Celtics starters

Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown was electric this season by coming into his own as an elite defender, excellent off-ball player with his decisive cutting and extension of range with his jump shot.

The 25-year-old finished the season with averages of 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game on 47 percent shooting from the floor, 36 percent shooting from deep, and 76 percent shooting from the foul line.

Jaylen put up these numbers as one of the better second options in the league behind Jayson Tatum. I believe this has been his best defensive season to date in terms of his consistency and not shying away from the tougher assignments.

He’s become a more aggressive cutter and driver this year, averaging a career in free throw makes (3.7) and attempts (4.8). Also, we’ve seen the development of a killer in-between game that’s as good as anyone in the league right now.

There are two glaring areas I need to see Jaylen Brown improve in and they are related to a reduction in turnovers. He averaged a career-high 2.7 giveaways a game for two straight seasons now.

One positive is JB has become a more willing playmaker and does not have tunnel vision anymore, but by no means can he be viewed as a good passer. The game has yet to slow down for him and I alluded to this in a previous piece on two main critiques of his game.

The other drawback in his game is his lack of ball-handling skills and it goes with not being able to change gears with his pace of play. To put it simply, the star plays too fast.

Should he correct these issues come playoff time or even next season, we have a superstar on our hands!

Grade: A- 

Marcus Smart

The heart and soul of this Boston Celtics team comes in the form of 6-3 point guard, Marcus Smart. This year he has been in some ways the most valuable player on the squad by serving as the anchor and ultimate communicator of the top-ranked NBA defense.

The eighth-year veteran has emerged as an efficient offensive player and the main floor general of a top-nine offense. Many critics questioned if he was a true point guard or could get to that point.

Brad Stevens signed Smart to a hefty extension and it has paid off in a big way.

There is no way the C’s complete this all-around transformation at both ends of the court without him. In our minds at HH, he is the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year.

Whether or not he goes on to become the first guard since Gary Payton to achieve this feat, it does nothing to undermine the hallmark effect of his presence on the court.

Smart became a better player offensively too by becoming more efficient with his shot selections and turning into a criminally underrated playmaker.

He is the C’s point guard of today and for many years to come.

The 28-year-old finished the regular season with averages of 12.1 points and a career-high 5.9 assists per contest to go with 1.7 steals per game. Of course, there were other invaluable stats like loose balls recovered, hockey assists, and charges drawn as well.

Grade: A+