The Boston Celtics bench is a key to their success, and no player might be as important as Marcus Smart.

The three-year veteran is the type of gritty agitator that teams love to have, and hate to play against. His desire is certainly undeniable, especially when he is making plays like this:


Smart clearly gets under opposing players' skin and he makes out of this world game saving rebounds, with zero regard for his safety:


But he has become far too reliable on the three-pointer. The 22-year-old is shooting at a 29 percent clip on the year from deep, after making only 25 percent from distance last season. In Wednesday's loss against Detroit, Smart put up some terrible shots, finishing 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, and none worse than this dud:


For one, the attempt is far too early in the shot clock. Then add the fact that the 6'11" Andre Drummond is breathing down his neck and it's obvious Smart would have been wise to kick the ball back out for a fresh possession.

There are other instances where Smart makes questionable decisions on when to chuck a three. Here Smart, instead of looking for more polished shooters like Terry Rozier and Jonas Jerebko, decides a transition deep ball is the best course of action:


It's not to say that Smart always takes head-scratching shots, but most would feel more comfortable with him driving to the hoop like he did here in Miami, using his wide frame to his advantage:


With all the frustration from Smart's shot selection, he has shown gigantic improvement in his passing ability. Smart, who ranks third on the team in assists, is averaging a career-high 4.2 per game this season:

Here the C's guard makes two beautiful passes, one to Jae Crowder, who is shooting 37.5 percent from distance this season, and the second a smooth dime to Al Horford:



Smart will be a key factor in the teams success going forward. Coach Brad Stevens certainly has faith in his guard, since he is averaging 31.1 per contest, good for fourth on the team.

So let's keep the case for Smart as a curious one, and not forget it is only the beginning of December. His percentage from downtown should improve as long as his shot selection does and we are all looking forward to the next hustle play made by the Celtics sixth-man.

Photo Credit: David Butler II- USA Today Sports

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Rob Welch 12/02/2016 08:02:00 AM Edit
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