Marcus Smart pushes back against critics, rightly cites integral role in leading Celtics to NBA Finals

Marcus Smart just won NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the first guard to do so since Gary Payton in 1996, and was an integral part of the Boston Celtics finishing two wins shy of an NBA championship, and still he hears the chatter, unending as it is, that the Celtics need to upgrade their point guard situation, outfit Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with a true third star, as though Smart’s value to the Celtics is higher as a trade chip than on the court. 

Of course, nobody is saying this officially. It’s mostly just people talking, though to be fair Smart’s name is pretty consistently at the center of trade rumors. Either way, Smart hears the criticism, and he’s right to push back after what he showed this season when he took the reins as Boston’s floor general and played at an All-Star level after the turn of the calendar, which, not coincidentally, is right about when Boston’s season completely flipped. 

From the Boston Globe:

“I think I proved a little bit of everything,” Smart said. “I hear the talks about ‘He’s not a true point guard’ and this and that. ‘They need a star point guard.’

“We’ve had star point guards, and yet this so-called non-point guard is the only one that’s led them to the Finals. I think that right there says enough. I don’t really need to say too much more. I think everybody sees and understands, finally, the person I really am, and what I can do given the opportunity.”

How are you going to argue with this? The Celtics had Isaiah Thomas, an All-Star. They traded for Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, both All-Stars. Smart did what they couldn’t. It’s not to suggest Smart was the biggest reason Boston finally made the Finals with this core, but he certainly wasn’t the reason they fell short of the whole thing. 

Rather, Stephen Curry went in God mode. Jayson Tatum couldn’t make a thing inside the arc. Smart, meanwhile, posted 15-5-4 with 1.5 steals per game on 41-percent 3-point shooting. 

The Smart gripes are almost always the same. He turns the ball over too much. He’s a sketchy shooter with even sketchier impulses to…


Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/marcus-smart-pushes-back-against-critics-rightly-cites-integral-role-in-leading-celtics-to-nba-finals/

Author : Brad Botkin

Publish date : 2022-06-29 14:58:06

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