Marcus Smart has long been praised for the leadership and grit he brings to the Boston Celtics. This season, teammates Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have noticed Smart stepping up big-time as a point guard.
With Kemba Walker out due to injury and Gordon Hayward suiting up for the Charlotte Hornets, Smart has been playing a major role in leading the C’s offense.
“His energy and his poise on the offensive end have been great for us,” Brown says, per Taylor C. Snow of Celtics.com. “We’ve asked him to step up and play the point guard position and he’s matched that. He’s got me easy baskets, he’s gotten Jayson easy baskets and he’s gotten himself even baskets as well. I’m proud to see Marcus Smart’s growth and the responsibility that he’s gotten, he’s handled it well in the first seven games.”
In a 122-120 win over the Pistons, the 26-year old finished with 10 assists and 17 points. He also dished the game-winning assist to Tatum, who knocked down a mid-range jumper to give the C’s the lead with 2.9 seconds remaining.
Tatum didn’t hesitate to give credit where it was due:
“He’s been running the team,” Tatum said of Smart. “Starting point, making sure that we’re in our spots, and just making sure we organize. And he’s been doing a really good job at it.”
Head coach Brad Stevens is just as impressed with his veteran guard:
“He knew time and score at the end when we were talking in the huddle,” Stevens explained of the big-time play. “And when we got the ball to Jason with however many seconds left to shoot it only with enough time that they would have to heave it…His thoughtfulness in that moment was huge.”
“I think he’s just one of those guys right? No one is going to say anything if he drives in there and makes it,” Stevens also added. “He’s bailed us out on so many occasions throughout the years that I appreciate how much he’s trying to do the right thing on every possession.”
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Smart has been listed as questionable ahead of Monday’s matchup against the Toronto Raptors. He is currently averaging 12.6 points and 6.7 assists per game this season.