Marcus Smarter

Fishy1

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How about some love for Marcus Smart? He's been getting plenty in the game threads: the guy is now up to 13th in the league in Wins by RPM, bookended by Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday.

His shooting has seen a substantial uptick in February. A FG% of .456 (though the 3pt% remains abysmal) is his best this year for a month -- in fact, these are the first months since December/January of his rookie year that he's been over 40% on FG's. Since he's been so bad from 3 point land, the uptick has to be accounted for on his 2 pointers: anecdotally, he's shown an increased ability to get himself shots in/near the restricted area through an improved first step. When he can't get to the cup, he's opting for a range of floaters and leaners.

A quick look at the NBA shooting splits shows he's benefiting from some good luck in the midrange (50% from 10-19 feet on 12 FGA), but that's he's also been very good around the hoop: (58% from less than 5 feet on 29 FGA, and 75% from 5-9 feet on 8 FGA). All of these are small sample sizes, of course, but he's also seemed a lot less out of control around the hoop.

We'll see if it lasts. It didn't last time. But a Marcus Smart who can shoot at a league average clip, given his extraordinary defense and his good passing, remains a player you can dream on.
 

Fishy1

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I saw that in the Ximo highlights and didn't understand the first two times I watched it that he'd intended to make that pass. He's got exceptional court vision.
 

bosox79

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His shooting has seen a substantial uptick in February. A FG% of .456 (though the 3pt% remains abysmal) is his best this year for a month -- in fact, these are the first months since December/January of his rookie year that he's been over 40% on FG's. Since he's been so bad from 3 point land, the uptick has to be accounted for on his 2 pointers: anecdotally, he's shown an increased ability to get himself shots in/near the restricted area through an improved first step. When he can't get to the cup, he's opting for a range of floaters and leaners.

Him being so bad from 3 point land just isn't true. Ignoring last nights 1-7 game, he was 38-107 .355 from beyond the arc since 12/23. Including last night, he's at .342. During that same stretch, his overall line is .390/.342/.835. Considering he hit .335 as a rookie, lets hope the 38-107 is more indicative than the 30-113 he was before then.

Most of his improvement in 2PFG% came from a 4 game stretch right before the all star break where he was 25-46 .543 . The other 6 games this month he is 22-57 .386. That 4 game stretch was also against Philly, Dallas, Utah and Portland. The one game vs Utah was the game he was 4-11 and 0-5 from 3. The 3 games against Philly, Dallas, and Portland he was 21-35 and 6-16 from 3.

Honestly though, the 2 pt FG% doesn't even matter if he can hit 35% of his 3's. The vast majority of his shots will be from beyond the arc anyway and when he does drive, he is often rewarded with FTs. He's kinda like a poor man's Jason Kidd who shot 40% from the field for his career but 35% from 3. He hit 79% of his FT's too but Marcus Smart has hit 78% of his FT's the last 2 years.
 

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As a rookie, it looked like Smart couldn't play point guard, mostly because he had such awful shot selection, especially 3-pointers on the run.

Now he can take over as the Celtics' main playmaker, while Thomas runs his defender ragged for spot-up 3-pointers. Smart looks more and more like a wider Dennis Johnson, and it shows in his post game as well as his defense. He has made much progress this year, especially in his judgment. He is Smarter.
 

reggiecleveland

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I have not been a big fn of the non shooting Marcus, but he has grown on me this year. He is just such a solid role player. He allows IT to play off the ball on O because he can bring it up, and he lets IT guard the worst guy out there because he can defend almost anybody. This year he seems to be scoring more off his off the ball movement too.
 

cardiacs

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He is definitely my favorite player on the team from the standpoint of a pure fan. I imagine he would fit in well with the 80's teams. To me, Smart (and to a slightly lesser degree Crowder) define the character of the team. I hope he stays long-term.
 

Reardons Beard

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He is definitely my favorite player on the team from the standpoint of a pure fan. I imagine he would fit in well with the 80's teams. To me, Smart (and to a slightly lesser degree Crowder) define the character of the team. I hope he stays long-term.
Fully agree with this, along with IT the three of them show a lot of drive and passion playing the game the right way.

I was not surprised to see JC and MS be the first to come to ITs defense when he was gooned over in Toronto the other night. Also glad that Brown, Young, and other youngsters will come up in this kind of culture. If we end up using the Nets pick this year it will be a great atmosphere and environment for the new guy, too.
 

ifmanis5

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His ability to defend the 1-4 positions (and defend them well) is really what separates him from comparisons to other players in his class. Very versatile on both ends of the floor.
 

DannyDarwinism

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Him being so bad from 3 point land just isn't true. Ignoring last nights 1-7 game, he was 38-107 .355 from beyond the arc since 12/23. Including last night, he's at .342. During that same stretch, his overall line is .390/.342/.835. Considering he hit .335 as a rookie, lets hope the 38-107 is more indicative than the 30-113 he was before then.
This is some impressive cherry picking. He's at 29.9% from 3 for his career. That's bad. Guys his age can significantly improve their shooting, but expecting a guy with his numbers and his mechanics to become something more than a 35% shooter from deep is wish casting.

Shooting aside, I do love his game. Smart in name and nature, grear motor, good vision, obviously great defensive instincts and strength. In the right situation, I absolutely think he can be complimentary player on a championship team.

This may be a relatively minor thing, but I love how he boxes out. He always turns and gets his man on his back as soon as the shot goes up, and with his lower body strength, he can create space against anyone. He may not even end up grabbing the board himself, but he'll push his guy out so that a teammate can snag it. And he can regulate when guys like Demarre Carroll start flexin. Gritty, high BB IQ player. I hope he stays a Celtic.
 

bosox79

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This is some impressive cherry picking. He's at 29.9% from 3 for his career. That's bad. Guys his age can significantly improve their shooting, but expecting a guy with his numbers and his mechanics to become something more than a 35% shooter from deep is wish casting.

Shooting aside, I do love his game. Smart in name and nature, grear motor, good vision, obviously great defensive instincts and strength. In the right situation, I absolutely think he can be complimentary player on a championship team.

This may be a relatively minor thing, but I love how he boxes out. He always turns and gets his man on his back as soon as the shot goes up, and with his lower body strength, he can create space against anyone. He may not even end up grabbing the board himself, but he'll push his guy out so that a teammate can snag it. And he can regulate when guys like Demarre Carroll start flexin. Gritty, high BB IQ player. I hope he stays a Celtic.
Kinda ignores the fact he already shot .335 on 4 attempts a game his rookie year. The following year he hit .253 and this year he is at .301 but on the upward trend. .335 isn't that far away from 35% and I'm not wishing for him to become more than a 35% shooter. I'm wishing for him to become a 35% shooter. I don't think it's all that ridiculous at all to think he can hit 35% of his 3's. He was at .295 in college too though so maybe he'll just go the way of Rajon Rondo and never see any improvement whatsoever.

I was also commenting about him being terrible from 3 lately so all his improvement was from 2's. That part isn't true. He's been better from 3 lately. For his career, sure he sucks.
 

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Smart will be a brilliant complementary player for the next decade if he figures out how to make 35% of his 3PA. Given his age, I think he's likely to pull it off. The C's haven't gotten huge value from his cost-controlled years, but if that enables us to extend him for less than max-money, that could be serendipitous given the arc of the franchise during those years. Needless to say, I love the guy -- and I wouldn't have said that a year ago.
 

Fishy1

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I won't get into the Smart 3 point SSS conversation, as I was the one to start it, and I was more bringing it up as a way to get into talking about Marcus throuhg his month of February. Instead, I'm going to bring his shot chart for the season into the conversation to try to illuminate some of his difficulties.

shotchart.png

Smart's actually better than league-average shooter from the corners -- problem is, it's the place he takes the fewest three pointers from. I don't see that changing, either, as for one, the team has better spot-up shooters from the corners (Jae is around 50% for the year, for example), and because when Marcus in the floor, he's more often than not got the ball in his hands.
 

Devizier

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Smart had a rough patch early in the fourth but he closed very strong tonight. Encouraging month from him. Let's hope he builds on it in March.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Smart had a rough patch early in the fourth but he closed very strong tonight. Encouraging month from him. Let's hope he builds on it in March.
That's an understatement. I mean he had a clutch OReb putback, another OReb off Brown's FT miss and some huge defense on Morris down the stretch. He just impacts winning.

One good thing about Smart's shooting woes. If he was shooting.350% from 3P land, they probably wouldn't be able to afford him.

Also, is it just me or does he seems to take a lot of the end of the quarter heaves and 2 for 1 long threes that brings his stats down.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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That's an understatement. I mean he had a clutch OReb putback, another OReb off Brown's FT miss and some huge defense on Morris down the stretch. He just impacts winning.

One good thing about Smart's shooting woes. If he was shooting.350% from 3P land, they probably wouldn't be able to afford him.

Also, is it just me or does he seems to take a lot of the end of the quarter heaves and 2 for 1 long threes that brings his stats down.
He seems to get stuck taking all of them. That's alright, I'd rather he take them than be one of those guys who waits to shoot until just after the last tick to protect their percentages.
 

CreightonGubanich

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The upside for Marcus Smart is the guard version of Draymond Green. I was down on him when it looked like he couldn't play point guard, but I think he's proven that he can. Someone mentioned in, I think, the trade deadline game thread, that Smart might be the best passer on the team. At first I thought that was ludicrous, but after thinking about it, it's probably either him or Horford. I hope he sticks around.
 

finnVT

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What's interesting to me is whether he can co-exist with Fultz or Ball, should the C's end up with one of them. I love Smart's game, but you obviously don't pass on one of those guys if they're your top player available just because you have Smart. Presumably if that happens and you keep Smart, he ends up rooted to that 2nd unit PG spot, but I imagine he'll eventually grow tired of that role.
 

nighthob

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As Fultz is also a combo guard with sufficient size to guard both guard spots they can easily coexist in the starting lineup when the time comes. I think Josh Jackson is #2 on Boston's board (he has Ainge written all over him) and that's even less of an issue. Ball is the only outlier, as there's a risk he doesn't have a defensive position in the NBA.
 

bosox79

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5/31 from 3 and down to .292 for the year. I really want him to develop a consistent 3 point shot. He'd be something.
 

bosox79

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13 games for March .298/.180/.960. Yeah, he is shooting under 30% from the field.

39/131 FG, 9/50 from 3. 47/49 from the FT line at least.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I posted out a video of Smart's new shooting motion in the Cs offseason thread (or I think I did). It's spoilered below.


This video breaks down his technique changes. Very approving of what Smart appears to be done and predicts that he will be at least league average if he sticks with the changes. And as we all know, Smart that is an average 3P shooter is a max player.

 

JCizzle

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I want to believe, but I feel like we hear some variation of this every offseason in every sport and it rarely translates.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Over 40% from the corners, which tend to be no fuss open catch and shoot situations. Another year of improved mechanics and optimizing his shot selection with another good slasher/distributor with Hayward in the mix and he'll be in good shape.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Oh, good. Another season, another new shoting method. /s

Actually, I agree with Jed. Hopefully the addition of Hayward leads to further improvement in shot selection (and less late clock bombing away). And it is reasonable to expect some marginal imporovement from him (as opposed to pie in the sky hopes that he will suddenly become a great shooter).
 

DrewDawg

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I too hope it works and there is a difference in form.

However there are players that have the correct form and still can't shoot.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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However there are players that have the correct form and still can't shoot.
This is an interesting comment. There are guys who have the correct form but can't get their shot off because they aren't athletic enough but I can't think of anyone who has great form and can't shoot. Anyone you were thinking about in particular (not being snarky here)?

If you can't believe in Marcus Smart improving his jump shot, you can't believe in the Easter Bunny. I believe - at least until opening day.

It's a different Him!
 

DrewDawg

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This is an interesting comment. There are guys who have the correct form but can't get their shot off because they aren't athletic enough but I can't think of anyone who has great form and can't shoot. Anyone you were thinking about in particular (not being snarky here)?
I wasn't, it was more of a generic thing--if all it takes to be a good shooter is correct form, then why aren't there a lot more good shooters.
 

finnVT

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I wasn't, it was more of a generic thing--if all it takes to be a good shooter is correct form, then why aren't there a lot more good shooters.
I'd imagine a number of things, but two primary ones I'd suspect are (1) being able to maintain that form when you've got a 6'8" athlete trying to disrupt it, and (2) using that correct form every single time (i.e., with very high reliability). Those are both very difficult skills that go beyond form when taking jumpers in a gym.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I wasn't, it was more of a generic thing--if all it takes to be a good shooter is correct form, then why aren't there a lot more good shooters.
Conventional wisdom is that when NBA players were in their teens, they were so much better than the kids they were playing against that they never had to learn proper form on their shooting. Also, they never really had to shoot because they could go around and over everyone.

Also, sometimes there are physical issues with having proper form, like having hands that are too big or maybe having joints that don't get in the proper position.

Finally, even guys that want to learn proper form, the problem is that during the heat of the game, their muscle memory may revert to the form they've been using their entire life, not the proper form, which is likely a good part of the reason why Marcus Smart was so inconsistent last year.

(BTW, If you want to do your kid a favor, don't let him shoot with a regular ball until she or he is strong enough to shoot with proper form.)

Shooting is really physics and the problems have been solved. If you have proper form and release, the ball will do what you want it to. The trick is getting the muscle memory to do it every time.
 

DrewDawg

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Shooting is really physics and the problems have been solved. If you have proper form and release, the ball will do what you want it to. The trick is getting the muscle memory to do it every time.
I guess this is more my point--even if he gets this new form down, that doesn't mean he's going to be what that video was saying. It's not just that he's "fixed" his form, which is awesome, it's doing it in a game.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I dunno, I feel like you guys are too pessimistic on Smart's three ball. He's only 23; shooting is the one area where players that age tend to improve; and his FT% (which tends to correlate well with 3fg%) has progressed over his career from .646 to .777 to .812 last season, which suggests both good, repeatable shooting mechanics and an eagerness to work on his areas of weakness.

By way of a comp, Draymond Green, who I think of as basically a bigger Marcus Smart, shot 20.9% from 3 in his age 22 season (equivalent to last season for Smart), then bumped that up to 33.3% as a Soph, then pushed it all the way up to 38.8% in his age 25 season. Dropped back to 30.8% last season, alas, but then stroked it at 41.0% during the latest championship run. Career to date: .334 reg season, .342 playoffs.

Given that Smart's already a much better FT shooter than Dray$ has ever been, I don't think it's that wildly optimistic to expect him to get up to ~34% or even a bit better.

On a side note: why is this thread not called "Wicked Smart"? If nothing else, "Marcus Smart" may be the most fun name to say with a Boston accent since the Bar Harbor Bar.
 
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Sam Ray Not

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BTW, If you want to do your kid a favor, don't let him shoot with a regular ball until she or he is strong enough to shoot with proper form.
Or: be prepared to bruise your kid's ego by making him break down and rebuild his shot when he gets strong enough to shoot properly. That's the story of Steph Curry, who we can assume had elite hand-eye coordination from the time he left the crib, but had to endure one miserable summer during high school in which Dell Sr. forced him to totally sh*tcan his old Shawn Marion-esque shooting stroke (which had been working great for him, just took longer to load up, and was easier to block) and rebuild it properly. For several months, he apparently could not shoot from outside the paint and was totally depressed.
 

Imbricus

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Marcus Smart may shoot better this year, or not, but I'm not sure that video proves anything. In that clip, the new and improved Smart is taking shots closer to halfcourt than the three-point line, it appears. That far out, even if his "set point" is normally over his head, he will naturally drop the ball lower -- if you put him back another 20 feet, he'll probably drop it even further, to his mid chest, just to maximize the ability to get the ball all the way to the basket. And it seems a corollary of that is that he'll launch the ball at the beginning of his jump, and not as he's coming back down, again to try to get enough heft behind that long shot.

Closer in to the basket, he's a strong guy, and for all we know, he may still be launching shots from over his head and releasing on his way down -- same old bad habits. This video seems to be built on a thin premise -- that after watching Marcus toss up a couple of shots from an atypical distance, you can conclude he has remodeled his shot, then you can go off to speculate what effect this will have on the Eastern Conference this year. Or has anyone here actually heard Smart say he's been working on his shooting technique in the off season? Hmm.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Or has anyone here actually heard Smart say he's been working on his shooting technique in the off season? Hmm.
He's yelling the whole time, "It's a different me" so can't we infer he's neen working on his mechanics?

Also, there's some video from a summer pickup game that has him shooting from more normal distances with good results and IIRC improved mechanics so hopefully he's been working on this part of his game.

Of course I am admittedly irrationally optimistic about all things Cs.