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Every team needs a bulldog; a motor; a grit-and-grind player whose intensity is felt by his presence alone; a maniac who headbutts a mat under the hoop before every game; a Kevin Garnett.

Boston knows firsthand how much a fierce competitor can do for a franchise after six years with KG. Since his departure in 2013, the city has been waiting for someone to emerge as the new mental leader of its team. Marcus Smart may be it.

While the entire 2016 Celtics squad has shown intense competitiveness so far, it all seems to start with Smart. Celtics.com writer Marc D'Amico says that Smart is "showing KG-like traits" after conversations with Al Horford and Brad Stevens:

“Marcus Smart is setting the tone in practice every day,” Horford said Friday night before the team’s open-practice scrimmage at TD Garden. “It’s just very impressive to see how hard he plays and how hard he commits.”

Just minutes later, Brad Stevens commented on the third-year guard’s practice habits, and his take wasn’t far off from that of his new big man.

“I’ve said this before: you just know he’s there,” Stevens said. “He is a presence on the floor on both ends.”

These comments draw a striking resemblance to what people use to say about the Big Ticket. Always hustling in practice and pushing his teammates to the max. Smart is showing off his best Kevin Garentt impersonation on the court and in the locker room, setting a high bar for himself and his peers for the 2016-17 season.

Garnett's passionate (and certainly crazy) ferocity may not ever be matched, but Smart seems up to the challenge to try to follow in his footsteps and carry the fiery torch this year.


Follow Erik on Twitter: @erikjohnson32

Photo by Celtics.com/Media Day 2016




Erik Johnson 10/03/2016 09:00:00 AM Edit
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