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For the most part, every player wants to start. They want to have their name announced to the crowd, repping their school, going through handshakes and high fives before getting ready for the opening tip.

But Marcus Smart isn't every player.

The fourth-year guard told Brad Stevens that he wants to come off the bench for the Boston Celtics, embracing his role with the second unit.



Of course, coming off the bench doesn't mean you don't play with the starters. But it does mean that Smart will get plenty of time with the Celtics' younger players. He'll have the chance to play more alongside a developing Jayson Tatum and whichever of the other rookies emerge as rotation pieces. We'll get to see his length combine with Terry Rozier on defense to disrupt opposing backcourts.

And we'll still see his minutes with Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, just later in the game.

Still, perhaps most important will be the energy that the Celtics' longest-tenured player can add off the bench when he's not surrounded by All-Stars.

"I told [Stevens], 'Bring me off the bench. It's OK. You don't have to start me,'" Smart said. "He really wanted to start me. He told me he wanted to. I told him, 'Just bring me off the bench. Get that energy off the bench.' I like it. I love it. I love coming in and bringing that energy off the bench."

Stevens added that he thinks Smart's "experience and his energy and his leadership" can help the young group find its way. Smart should know Steven's system better than any player on the current roster, so his experience truly should add a critical element to a young second unit.

Smart gave a taste of his improved physique and bench contributions on Monday when he made two three-pointers and dropped nine points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.

For more from Smart and Stevens on Smart's role this year, check out the video below.




Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Follow Steven on Twitter: @StevenTydings

Steven Tydings 10/04/2017 03:50:00 PM Edit
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