The Boston Celtics have an element that the rest of the NBA doesn’t have the luxury of on their team. That element being Marcus Smart, who is the C’s ultimate wild card.
Smart has been considered to be the “wild card” of the NBA since the Boston Celtics drafted him to their team in 2014. A “wild card” in sports is more so about the unpredictability that a player brings to the table more than anything else, and that’s exactly the style of play that Smart provides.
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There is not another guard in the NBA who can successfully defend all five positions on the court like Smart does. He has confidently gone toe-to-toe with some of the best the NBA has to offer, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard.
In doing so, Smart has often referred to his position as being a “stretch-six”. Which seems to just be someone who is capable of doing everything and anything that his team needs of him. It’s the perfect name for the position of a “wild card” type of player like Smart.
Now, with being a “wild card” type of player, you never know what to expect on any given night, and that’s definitely the case with Smart. You can always expect a high defensive effort from Smart, but when he is connecting on the offensive end of the court, Smart becomes the ultimate two-way player and that is an unmatched type of production.
You won’t find another player in the league who can score 25 points in a game and then strive to be the main defender on the other end of the floor for his team. But that’s what a leader does and Smart does it with great pride.
It’s worth mentioning that Smart has also been in the conversation as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate for the last few years now and this year is not any different.
To get to this point, it has taken Smart endless hours in the gym, training to perfect his overall game; more so on the offensive end. Smart is currently on pace to set new career-highs for himself in points, rebounds, and assists per game, as well as his shooting percentages from the field and behind the arc.
The “wild card” type of play that Smart has provided all season is definitely a competitive advantage for the Boston Celtics. Although the C’s are unsure of how Smart is going to perform on a nightly basis, it also puts their opposition in the same position as well.
The only way to prepare for the “wild card” that is Smart, is by expecting the unexpected on a nightly basis. What has become factual at this point is that he provides an endless amount of winning plays for the Boston Celtics. Smart, better than most, understands that great team defense will always lead into an even greater offensive outing.
The Boston Celtics have been able to scrape by without Kemba Walker, but not so much without Smart this season. For the Celtics to make a deep run through the playoffs like they are poised to do, Smart is going to be heavily relied on to be the true “wild card” that he is and make those Marcus Smart type of winning plays that we so often hear about.