Marcus Smart is a fierce competitor. If that wasn’t a takeaway for you after last season, you clearly weren’t watching the Celtics enough.
With his relentless defence Smart solidified himself as the Celtics point guard of the future and started 41 games in his rookie campaign. Smart demonstrated that he can do much more than just play tough defence as he proved to be able to make clutch shots when the Celtics desperately needed him to.
I’m sure you all remember the amazing buzzer beating, game-winner against the Raptors in Toronto that silenced the crowd.
Smart, as with any rookie, struggled with consistency for parts of the season. His three-point shot, whilst dangerous, was overused at times.
The competition between Smart and Isaiah Thomas for the starting point guard role will drive both of them to be better and compete every single night. That is what depth does, it creates competition for spots which is healthy for a team.
Smart averaged just over 3 assists per game last season, this will need to improve if he wants to keep his starting position. From what we’ve seen in the preseason, in particular against the Knicks when he dropped 9 dimes, this improvement will come. He is not where he needs to be yet, but time is most certainly on his side as he enters his second season.
Another season alongside Bradley will only improve Smart’s defence as he can learn in every practice and every game. Playing under Brad Stevens is another key in unlocking Smart’s potential, as we all know Stevens is the master in bringing out the best in his players.