The Boston Celtics had a top 10 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and the team decided to go with defensive-minded guard Marcus Smart. The Celtics took Smart at pick No. 6, while players like Julius Randle and Noah Vonleh were still on the board.
The Celtics really wanted to land in the top three of the lottery in 2014, but instead they ended up with Smart, which is something that team is definitely thankful for after his rookie season. Smart was not completely ready for the NBA game when he came in because he was an inconsistent floor general that could not really shoot at all.
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Smart used his strengths to his advantage during his rookie season and he ended up making the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. The Celtics were fine with waiting on Smart to mature, but the team was pleasantly surprised with his quick development after his first season in a Celtics’ uniform.
High expectations for Smart’s sophomore campaign
Smart is a 6-foot-4 point guard that started in 38 games for the Celtics last season. After the team got rid of Rajon Rondo, Smart was called upon a lot to be the main floor general for the Celtics. Smart averaged 7.8 PPG, 3.1 APG, 3.3 RPG, and 1.5 SPG in his first year in Boston.
Smart even shot 33.5 percent from deep last season, which was actually pretty impressive seeing that Smart was not a great three-point shooter in college. Obviously three-point shooting is something that Smart needs to work on and shooting in general, but he made great strides in improving his shooting for the Celtics.
He also became one of the go-to shooters for the Celtics when the team needed a basket, and he hit some big, tough shots for the Celtics last season.
Smart always affected the outcome of the game for the Celtics on both ends of the floor, particularly on the defensive end. He can guard many guards in the backcourt because of his size and speed, he also has great hands to disrupt passing lanes, which creates easy fast-break baskets.
When Smart was on the floor last season, he fought for every ball and played with a chip on his shoulder during every possession, which is why general manager Danny Ainge wanted Smart on the Celtics.
Smart should have an even better sophomore season because he now has a year under his belt, and he showed that he is going to play a lot more aggressively on the offensive end during NBA Summer League. It was only summer league, but he still showed that he has the ability to score in many ways, and the Celtics need scoring, especially from their backcourt.
Smart should be the starting point guard for the Celtics next season, and he will be asked to do many different things on both ends of the floor. He impressed with his will to win last season and intensity, but he will need to improve some of his behavioral skills. Sometimes he can be a loose cannon as we all saw in college and at some points last season.
He has came a long way since his college days, but he still needs to be on the floor every game for the Celtics, which means he cannot get ejected or suspended for behavioral issues.
Smart is going to be asked to make a big leap this season by being able to shoot better from deep, and by becoming a more reliable point guard that can hold on to the basketball. Smart has a promising future for the Celtics because he is just getting started.
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