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Scouts Still Really Like Marcus Smart’s Defense

 

Breaking news: Marcus Smart is going to be a good defender.

After playing on the Celtics’ Summer League squad and Team USA’s select team, pretty much everyone says the same thing: Smart is a fantastic defender who might struggle as a shooter.

I’m of the opinion that Smart’s jumper isn’t nearly as broken as some seem to think, and that an average jumper plus his offensive contributions as a penetrator PLUS his defense will help make him a very good NBA player in the future.

The Celtics coaching staff would appear to agree. Jay King from MassLive gathered a couple of quotes from the summer:

Brad Stevens – “I couldn’t have been happier with his first summer league game, and he was 2-for-8 (from the field) and 0-for-5 (from the 3-point arc). Because I really think he’ll grow in his shot, I think that it’s just something that will come over time. I think the biggest thing is, he just needs reps and belief. And we’ll help him get there. At the end of the day, he just did so much defensively that is way beyond his years, not only physically but mentally. He’s obviously been well-coached at multiple levels.”

Jay Larranaga – “I’d say the first thing you notice right away is what a competitor he is, the level of intensity he brings to every play offensively and defensively. He’s been a lot of fun to work with. I think we were very lucky we saw the leadership of Kevin Garnett, the leadership of Paul Pierce, and they lead by example more than anything else. So the example Marcus has set, even though he’s a young player, is that he plays hard, he values defense, he values team play. You have to lead by example before you do anything else.”

That’s a lot of really nice things to hear, and Celtics fans will certainly like reading a description of Smart that involves a comparison to Kevin Garnett. Smart, of course, won’t ever be as impactful on the defensive end as Garnett — few players in NBA history can boast that kind of impact —but Garnett made a huge impact on the team’s defensive mentality, which was a big part of his contribution. If Smart could somehow mimic that kind of inspiration, the Celtics would be thrilled.

But let’s not raise expectations too high for the rookie. If Smart doesn’t mimic Garnett’s inspiration, and he just ends up being a spectacularly talented defender who can also get to the rim and score, Boston will be very happy as well.

  • check12check

    ‘But let’s not raise expectations too high for the rookie.’

    exactly. for this year, I completely expect Smart to be a border-line (maybe not so border-line) liability on offense. that’s the down side to going the re-building route like we have; our players will have to go through their growing pains. I even expect that Smart will take a little while before his defense shines. I don’t think he will have a hard time transitioning, but he’s going to have to pick up the teams defensive schemes just like every other rookie. He will probably still have times where gets caught off guard by thinking he can do something against a player, and then realizing they are too fast or too strong to be able to do so. Without question, he is going to be an impact player on defense almost instantly, but I think we have to go with almost.

    on offense, things might be sort of ugly. we are going to seemingly have no flow and no spacing. how many guys without jumpers can we put on one team? seriously, are KO and Sullinger our best shooters? (I’m not including Thornton here. It doesn’t count when you have one nba level skill and do everything else at a YMCA level.)

    • swissflix

      yeah yeah they said the same crap about Paul Pierce back in 98. Too slow, not athletic enough, a high volume shooter blahblah. Point is, Smart is a fearless competitor and a baller. Exactly what we need to get a new identity.
      People don’t get it. It is NEVER about field goal percentages.

  • hax

    Slim that roster, Danny!

Browse Archives by:

Scouts Still Really Like Marcus Smart’s Defense

 

Breaking news: Marcus Smart is going to be a good defender.

After playing on the Celtics’ Summer League squad and Team USA’s select team, pretty much everyone says the same thing: Smart is a fantastic defender who might struggle as a shooter.

Next great perimeter defender, per a couple scouts I talked to this week: Marcus Smart. All the tools. Scouts love how he embraces contact.

— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) September 3, 2014

I’m of the opinion that Smart’s jumper isn’t nearly as broken as some seem to think, and that an average jumper plus his offensive contributions as a penetrator PLUS his defense will help make him a very good NBA player in the future.

The Celtics coaching staff would appear to agree. Jay King from MassLive gathered a couple of quotes from the summer:

Brad Stevens – “I couldn’t have been happier with his first summer league game, and he was 2-for-8 (from the field) and 0-for-5 (from the 3-point arc). Because I really think he’ll grow in his shot, I think that it’s just something that will come over time. I think the biggest thing is, he just needs reps and belief. And we’ll help him get there. At the end of the day, he just did so much defensively that is way beyond his years, not only physically but mentally. He’s obviously been well-coached at multiple levels.”

Jay Larranaga – “I’d say the first thing you notice right away is what a competitor he is, the level of intensity he brings to every play offensively and defensively. He’s been a lot of fun to work with. I think we were very lucky we saw the leadership of Kevin Garnett, the leadership of Paul Pierce, and they lead by example more than anything else. So the example Marcus has set, even though he’s a young player, is that he plays hard, he values defense, he values team play. You have to lead by example before you do anything else.”

That’s a lot of really nice things to hear, and Celtics fans will certainly like reading a description of Smart that involves a comparison to Kevin Garnett. Smart, of course, won’t ever be as impactful on the defensive end as Garnett — few players in NBA history can boast that kind of impact —but Garnett made a huge impact on the team’s defensive mentality, which was a big part of his contribution. If Smart could somehow mimic that kind of inspiration, the Celtics would be thrilled.

But let’s not raise expectations too high for the rookie. If Smart doesn’t mimic Garnett’s inspiration, and he just ends up being a spectacularly talented defender who can also get to the rim and score, Boston will be very happy as well.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

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