Analyst hopes ex-Boston Celtics heart and soul has already played his last game this season

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics
Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

Marcus Smart, the former heart and soul of the Boston Celtics, has not had the best first season with the Memphis Grizzlies from a team standpoint; despite career-highs in scoring and overall field goal conversion rate.

Because the season has been such a disaster, with the Grizzlies nearly losing twice as many games as they've won through the All-Star break, The Commercial Appeal's Mark Giannotto believes that Smart, Desmond Bane, and just about any player of long-term value for Memphis should shut down for the rest of the 2023-24 season.

"(Memphis) should consider the possibility that Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart have played their last games of the season," Giannotto prefaced before saying, "They should consider figuring out how they can do the same with Jaren Jackson Jr. They should treat the final 26 games after the NBA’s All-Star break like the mostly meaningless endeavor that they’ve become, where finding hidden gems and developing the young pieces around their core are about the only motivation left."

Not playing former Boston Celtics heart and soul Marcus Smart or other vets 'most competitive thing Grizzlies could do'

Giannotto took his point a step further, claiming that sitting Smart, Bane, and Jackson would actually be the most competitive thing Memphis can do -- of course referring to the long-term as opposed to the already-lost 2023-24 season.

"Not playing Bane, Smart and even Jackson down the stretch might actually be the most competitive thing the Grizzlies could do because all that should matter for this franchise is making sure they’re set up to be a contender again in 2025," Giannotto wrote. "The only outcome over the next two months worse than what’s happened already, worse than watching this season go up in flames due to a barrage of unfortunate injuries, is to see next season affected by injuries before it even begins."

If Ja Morant can return healthy in 2024-25, and the Grizzlies can figure out a way to properly replace Steven Adams, Memphis could finally be moving in the right direction. And Smart will once again be on a contender, something he was arguably always a part of with Isaiah Thomas, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and (to a lesser extent) Kyrie Irving as his teammates in Boston.