Marcus Smart is entering his fourth season as a Boston Celtic, and after a busy offseason, the Celtics only have four returning players from last year’s roster. Smart, at a young age, is now the longest tenured Celtic. Smart has become a fan favorite in Boston due to his work ethic and defensive intensity. The Celtics drafted Smart with the sixth pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Oklahoma State. Smart is not only unique because he is the longest tenured, but also because when he first arrived, Boston was still rebuilding. Smart is a key member to the Celtics because of his leadership, along with many other qualities that don’t show up on a stat sheet. He’s seen the Celtics rise from a rebuilding team to a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference.
Smart is most well known for his play on the defensive side of the ball. Since the Celtics drafted Smart, he has been their best defender, other than Avery Bradley, who was traded to the Detroit Pistons this offseason. He has been a key member on the second unit, and has a knack for coming up with a big steal when the Celtics need it most. He also has the ability to hit clutch shots, and he came up big for the Celtics last postseason when Isaiah Thomas was injured. At the same time, Smart’s biggest liability is his offense. Even though Smart has had his share of clutch moments offensively, he has struggled mightily. Through his first three seasons in the NBA, Smart has never shot higher than 37 percent from the field, and hasn’t shot above 33 percent on three pointers.
Smart’s importance to the Celtics can also be seen by the way veterans such as Al Horford and Head Coach Brad Stevens refer to the fourth year guard. Horford referenced Smart, along with second year player Jaylen Brown when asked about who’s stepped up in terms of leadership this offseason. With Bradley gone, the Celtics will be leaning on Smart to guard some of the most talented guards in the league. With all those expectations being placed on the fourth year defensive specialist, he came to camp a different player.
In the offseason, Smart showed that he’s ready to step up for this team as expected. Smart showed up at training camp twenty pounds lighter than last year. That shows how committed Smart is to the team. He will also be motivated due to the fact that this is his contract year. Smart is in line for a big year, and the Celtics are prepared to lean on him. He represents grit and hustle. Whenever he plays, he leaves it all on the court. That’s what makes Smart so valuable to this team. Regardless of his offensive struggles, no one on the Celtics roster can replace his determination. The Celtics wouldn’t want it any other way, as Smart is critical to this teams success.