Why doesn't Marcus Smart drive to the hoop?

When you are in any new situation, whether it be a new school, new town, or even a new job, there is always an adjustment period to show people the real you. After showing your shy side, a few weeks pass and you eventually end up showing your true colors. Right now Celtics rookie Marcus Smart is still in his shy stage, at least, when it comes to bringing the rock to the hoop.

You know the topic is of concern when Tommy Heinsohn feels like it needs to be addressed as he tweeted:

In case anyone needed added evidence to back up the tweet by @CelticsLife here are highlights of Smart last season, during a monster performance against the University of Memphis.

ESPN’s Chris Forsberg then crunches the numbers, revealing a remarkable stat:

There can be many factors to why Smart’s drives are so minimal. As CelticsHub's Brian Robb brings up, Smart's injury has to be one of the reasons behind Smart's reluctance.

In case anyone forgot the play where Smart injured his ankle earlier in the year:

Free throws are also a main suspect, when it comes to a fear of penetrating to the paint. Smart though, is shooting a manageable 69% from the charity stripe.

You could blame a player with an ugly stroke, and an even uglier free throw percentage, like Rajon Rondo, for being apprehensive taking the ball in the paint, but Smart's free throw form is very smooth.

Size could be another factor, but at 6’4” 220 pounds, Smart is no featherweight on the basketball court. Smart has already shown a lot of heart during his brief NBA career. Whether it is diving for loose balls, boxing out bigger opponents, or taking a charge, Smart certainly isn't afraid to get dirty.

Don't forget how quick he was to get in DeMarcus Cousins' face last month, after the Kings center tried to toss him aside like a rag doll.

But the daily toll it takes on your body banging down low can even effect even the bravest of rookies. It’s one thing to take the ball to the hole when you are running into a slimmed down sophomore on Gonzaga who, after his college career, will be selling life insurance.

But it’s a completely different ballgame when you’re running into a freight train like Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, or the Joakim Noah, Paul Gasol, Taj Gibson pu-pu platter Chicago can throw at you.

Time, and more importantly reps, will give Smart experience dealing with bigger NBA opponents. Keep in mind Smart has only been back a month, recovering from that ankle injury.


If Smart is to break out of his shy stage, the time is now. Gone are Rondo and Jeff Green, and more importantly, any expectations that the playoffs are a goal. So any pressure Smart may have felt as he was handed the keys to the franchise need to diminish.

The main objective for the Celtics this season is to development their young guys, and it starts, and ends with Smart.

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