The I Love Marcus Smart Thread

SeoulSoxFan

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Undoubtedly my favorite Celtic right now.

Going through no less than 3 cancer battles in our family this year, this sealed it (paid wall):
Marcus Smart has spent far too much of his life sitting beside a hospital bed.

He endured years watching his brother Todd battle Leukemia when Marcus was in elementary school in Texas. He held his mother, Camellia, as she faced bone marrow cancer a few years ago. He is all too familiar with the last place most people want to be.

And yet, he keeps going back.

When he arrived in Boston as a rookie in 2014, he began making hospital visits quietly — no cameras, no media, no tweets. Smart wanted to spend time with kids who needed a friend and a distraction. Doctors and nurses would introduce him to those who had chemotherapy treatments that morning. They would explain to him how rough the past few days had been for their patients, hoping he could make their day a little easier.

“Then I get there and everything that the doctor just told me goes out the window,” Smart said as a smile finally began to peek through. “The kid has the biggest smile on her face. They’re getting up, they’re talking, they’re getting out of bed and that right there is what it’s all about for me.”
https://theathletic.com/3700379/2022/10/24/marcus-smart-boston-childrens-hospital-innovation?source=user-shared-article
 

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Most of us are biased by championships when we list our favorite players, but Marcus is a top 5 or so favorite C for me, and this is a big reason why. (Plus, his defense.)
 

TripleOT

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As a cancer survivor whose daily radiation appointments last year in Boston were preceded by a 5 year old child, whose parents would be visibly anguished when they were waiting as their little girl endured treatment, this article hit close to home. The bravery of that little girl inspired and buoyed me during mine.

One of the most important things a person can have going for them when they face a health crisis is a good attitude. For a child to have to endure hospitals and treatments, without any kind of fun distraction, is very difficult. Marcus’ SmartCart is a wonderful idea.

I was more than touched when I read this article yesterday.
 

joe dokes

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The older I get, the more difficult it becomes to ever be critical of the on-court performance of an off-court player like Smart.
 

lovegtm

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We don't give Marcus enough love when he plays well, and that game last night was basically perfect Marcus, especially on offense. It doesn't get talked about much, but he's gotten a lot more dangerous when he gets into the paint; more ways to score, which increases the pressure on the defense and improves his passing options a lot.
 

snowmanny

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What the hell was that thing with the sneakers before the spin move? That was an epic play.
 

Euclis20

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I hope not for his sake. This would mean that he died young.
Quite possibly, but it's worth noting that sometime late next year (barring injury) he'll pass Don Chaney for 16th on the Celtics all-time list in terms of games played. Why is that significant? Everyone who played more games for the Celtics than Chaney is up in the rafters already. Smart is signed through 2026 and will likely end up just outside the top 10 in games played (assuming he's not with the Celtics after that and is moderately healthy until then). If the Celtics win a title, he'll have a decent shot. Likely no all-star appearances, but the vocal leader of a title team with a DPOY award and multiple appearances on the all-defense team? Maybe.
 

lovegtm

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Quite possibly, but it's worth noting that sometime late next year (barring injury) he'll pass Don Chaney for 16th on the Celtics all-time list in terms of games played. Why is that significant? Everyone who played more games for the Celtics than Chaney is up in the rafters already. Smart is signed through 2026 and will likely end up just outside the top 10 in games played (assuming he's not with the Celtics after that and is moderately healthy until then). If the Celtics win a title, he'll have a decent shot. Likely no all-star appearances, but the vocal leader of a title team with a DPOY award and multiple appearances on the all-defense team? Maybe.
If they win a title with him as key contributor, and he plays 12-15 years with the Celtics, I can see it.

Also, to stay in the present, the dude is taking it to another level. He somehow found a way to become 5x more threatening in the paint well into the 2nd half of his career.
 

bigq

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Smart in the 4th quarter was so good last night. In the 8 minutes he was on the court in the 4th he was 4-4 from the floor (including 1-1 from three and a huge three at that), 3 boards and 4 assists. He was everywhere doing everything. He is my oldest daughter's favorite player on the team and she had a huge smile on her face in the closing minutes.

Scal commented that Smart is the best post up guard in the league. I don't know the NBA outside of Boston well enough to weigh in however I love watching him bully guards as he attacks the basket.

It is early in the season and SSS caveats apply however he is hitting 2s at a career high rate primarily due to converting baskets inside of 10 feet. His per 36 assist and turnover rates are at career bests as well. As much as I would like to see him up his 3P%, I would prefer to see him distribute well and get his teammates open looks.

Watching him wear down opposing guards on the offensive side in the paint and defensively as well has been a joy.
 

joe dokes

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If they win a title with him as key contributor, and he plays 12-15 years with the Celtics, I can see it.

Also, to stay in the present, the dude is taking it to another level. He somehow found a way to become 5x more threatening in the paint well into the 2nd half of his career.
It appears that the left hand is a real weapon inside, and to my eyes, it is a foundational piece for his improved FG% from inside.
I have said this before, but Smart is Dennis Johnson of the 21st century. If this forum had been around in the 80s, there would have been scores of "Man, I really love DJ, but I wish he'd . . . . ."
 

benhogan

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It is early in the season and SSS caveats apply however he is hitting 2s at a career high rate primarily due to converting baskets inside of 10 feet. His per 36 assist and turnover rates are at career bests as well. As much as I would like to see him up his 3P%, I would prefer to see him distribute well and get his teammates open looks.

Watching him wear down opposing guards on the offensive side in the paint and defensively as well has been a joy.
Yep, bully ball the opposing PG. Driving into the lane & scoring or kicking out is the best offensive version of Marcus. He hasn't settled much for early 3s while being guarded.

I also like Grant in the starting lineup instead of White since it usually lets Marcus square off versus the smallest opponent
 

the moops

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Scal commented that Smart is the best post up guard in the league. I don't know the NBA outside of Boston well enough to weigh in however I love watching him bully guards as he attacks the basket.
If we consider Luka a guard, then I would disagree with this. But Smart is definitely one of the best. Who else? Maybe Booker?
 

128

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Scal commented that Smart is the best post up guard in the league. I don't know the NBA outside of Boston well enough to weigh in however I love watching him bully guards as he attacks the basket.
Jrue Holiday is a load down low, too.
 

bigq

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If we consider Luka a guard, then I would disagree with this. But Smart is definitely one of the best. Who else? Maybe Booker?
Ben Simmons circa 2020 could be in the conversation however (1) I don’t know if he is currently considered a guard and (2) this season he is not very good at putting the ball in the basket.
 
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bellowthecat

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Jrue Holiday is a load down low, too.
I still have nightmares about Jrue posting up everyone at will in the second round last year.

According to nba.com Luka is 2nd overall in the league with an impressive 1.32 points per possession on post ups. DeRozan is 6th at 1.24 ppp, Tatum 7th at 1.21 ppp and Smart is 10th with 1.17 ppp. Marcus has always been pretty good at posting up to my eye, but it seems he's really excelling this year due to the spread wide offense keeping the help from coming.

Minimum of 10 min/game and 10 possessions per play type to qualify and it doesn't appear to me that Jrue qualifies yet this year.
 

benhogan

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I still have nightmares about Jrue posting up everyone at will in the second round last year.

According to nba.com Luka is 2nd overall in the league with an impressive 1.32 points per possession on post ups. DeRozan is 6th at 1.24 ppp, Tatum 7th at 1.21 ppp and Smart is 10th with 1.17 ppp. Marcus has always been pretty good at posting up to my eye, but it seems he's really excelling this year due to the spread wide offense keeping the help from coming.

Minimum of 10 min/game and 10 possessions per play type to qualify and it doesn't appear to me that Jrue qualifies yet this year.
Smart keeps up Post efficiency + Asst/TO efficiency + Celtic wins >>> he'll get All-Star talk (but he'll never get the nod)
 

bankshot1

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I love me some Marcus and have for years. He is the team's middle-linebacker.

I don't love everything he does, and he can make you grit your teeth from time to time, but Marcus gives me more smiles for his style of play, his brains, his toughness and heart, and his love of the game, than almost any other Celt since Dave Cowens.

I, like others, hope one day he finds his way to the rafters because he's old school Celt.
 

Koufax

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He has adapted to being a point guard much more thoroughly than I expected. Obviously he's got the heart of a lion and his green hair puts him over the top for me. To the rafters, Marcus! (But first get that championship).
 

Euclis20

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True, although Luka does a lot more than bully small pgs down low - the clip shows him back down Franz Wagner and Mikal Bridges, among others. Smart is pretty good at punishing mismatches, but Luka can do just about anything with anyone.
 

benhogan

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True, although Luka does a lot more than bully small pgs down low - the clip shows him back down Franz Wagner and Mikal Bridges, among others. Smart is pretty good at punishing mismatches, but Luka can do just about anything with anyone.
Yea obviously it's not a comp, since there is no offensive comparison between Luka/Smart

It just illustrated/explained an aspect of Luka's game, ballhandling/passing out of the post (Joker also), that is effective. Marcus has been working his guys down to the post to score and pass more this season
 

DGreenwood

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True, although Luka does a lot more than bully small pgs down low - the clip shows him back down Franz Wagner and Mikal Bridges, among others. Smart is pretty good at punishing mismatches, but Luka can do just about anything with anyone.
My favorite example of this from that video is the one where the pick results in a switch so that Luka has Bol Bol guarding him at the three point line and Luka decides to back him down into the paint and show Bol his post moves.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Yea obviously it's not a comp, since there is no offensive comparison between Luka/Smart

It just illustrated/explained an aspect of Luka's game, ballhandling/passing out of the post (Joker also), that is effective. Marcus has been working his guys down to the post to score and pass more this season
Smart did this consistently at OSU to take advantage of his size/strength. Once he got to the league he could no longer muscle guys or finish as easily as he lacks lift in traffic. Over the past year or two I’ve noticed him becoming more comfortable and more able to identify matchups that he can exploit in this manner.

This is precisely what a basketball players prime looks like……a 3-4 year window when you’ve figured out the mental aspect while still maintaining the physical skills to best take advantage of it.
 

benhogan

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Smart did this consistently at OSU to take advantage of his size/strength. Once he got to the league he could no longer muscle guys or finish as easily as he lacks lift in traffic. Over the past year or two I’ve noticed him becoming more comfortable and more able to identify matchups that he can exploit in this manner.

This is precisely what a basketball players prime looks like……a 3-4 year window when you’ve figured out the mental aspect while still maintaining the physical skills to best take advantage of it.
Good point on Smart hitting his prime.

Another difference between OSU/Boston Smart was never being given the PG/ball handler keys. Whether it was IT, Kyrie (w/Rozier playing PG in the 2018 playoffs), Gordon playing Point-Forward, Kemba...

It took all those events to clear, along with Smart maturing, to make it happen. The ball handler/initiator role is such an important spot Brad has backfilled the position with the NBA's deepest stable (Smart, Brogdon, White, PP, JDD, Begarin, Yam). Brad is playing 4D Chess for the next 3-4 seasons.
 

lovegtm

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Good point on Smart hitting his prime.

Another difference between OSU/Boston Smart was never being given the PG/ball handler keys. Whether it was IT, Kyrie (w/Rozier playing PG in the 2018 playoffs), Gordon playing Point-Forward, Kemba...

It took all those events to clear, along with Smart maturing, to make it happen. The ball handler/initiator role is such an important spot Brad has backfilled the position with the NBA's deepest stable (Smart, Brogdon, White, PP, JDD, Begarin, Yam). Brad is playing 4D Chess for the next 3-4 seasons.
Isn't "looking ahead a few moves" just normal, 2D chess?
 

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This is precisely what a basketball players prime looks like……a 3-4 year window when you’ve figured out the mental aspect while still maintaining the physical skills to best take advantage of it.
There’s some good analysis out there that this is the real reason players hit so many home runs in the steroid era, i.e. the strength obviously helps, but lots of guys are strong, so the real advantage for some guys was that it takes so damn long to really learn to hit, so guys could keep playing once they had whereas it used to be that by the time they had it down, they no longer had the physical abilities.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Posted in the gamethread but putting here as well. Smart essentially vaulted into the top five in total assists for the year after last night. SSS still applies but he seems to be leveling up to be a very good distributor (from just good) in addition to his other skills.

58244
 

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lovegtm

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The thing that stands out to me is how much he's improved his foul-drawing since he first came into the league. He used to ham it up and act like he got shot all the time, and over time has learned the spots where fouls get called, particularly navigating screens and in the post, and how to sell the contact while maintaining believability.