Marcus Smart did something special last night, and I could care less
Marcus Smart's game tonight...— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) April 7, 2017
...is a first in NBA history.
If you look up to the tweet embedded above, you'll see Smart is the first person to ever in league history to log seven assists, six steals, five three-pointers and two blocks. That's pretty impressive, to be sure, and this Marcus Smart is pretty damn amazing, as was the Smart we saw against the New York Knicks. But that Marcus Smart has been hard to find, the Marcus Smart - third year veteran that he is - who chooses his shots on offense, and who makes the extra pass, has only showed up in seven of the Boston Celtics' last twenty games. And while he may not be the (only) reason for the team's recent woes, him having one of six, one of eight, hell, even one of THIRTEEN nights from the floor sure haven't been helping.
One of thirteen? How does this even happen?
Well, I'll tell you.
Coach Brad Stevens doesn't bench him. Also, look up. See that big, icy blue arc? and the blue blob top center? Those are from the nights where Smart forgets - or doesn't care, or whatever, it ends up the same however the thought process works - he sucks from anywhere on the floor that isn't the corner or in the paint above the restricted arc. It's been three years, Marcus; the only time you should be shooting the ball away from those spaces is when the clock is about to expire, and on nights when you refuse to stop jacking shots, you should sit.Granted, this is not to blame for last night's loss, but out of the last twenty games, Boston has lost eight games, in six of which Smart has shot below .400. Those games aren't on him individually either, but it's a lot easier to win if other folks on the team able to try their luck at wasting a possession, especially if they shoot better. Of course, you'd have to find someone with a better track record to pass to, narrowing the field to ... literally anyone else on the team.
Marcus Smart's last 19 games— Michael Dyer (@Mike_Dyer13) April 6, 2017
30.2% FG (on 10 attempts/game)
20% 3 PT (on 4 attempts/game)
As much as he adds, that's still unacceptable
Don't get me wrong. I love Marcus. I want him on this team. I believe in what he is good at, and that does not include shooting from most places on the floor. That's OK. Shoot where you are good. Pass otherwise. This will go a long way to giving Smart confidence based in makes to slowly expand his skills a la Avery Bradley, and I have confidence he's, well, smart enough to instill good habits that will contribute to winning basketball. Sometimes, it's easy to forget how young he is (barely 23 as I write this) but it's time to take some strides forward as we wrap up his third season in the Association - and to reap the postseason rewards a more mature game will bring the whole team.
For more stories about Marcus Smart on CelticsLife, click here. For more by Justin, click here.
Data via Basketball-reference.com
Shot chart via AustinClemens.com
Photo via MassLive.com
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn