Marcus Smart vs. Pistons - new NBA Defensive Box Score reveals value

Marcus Smart returned to the hardwood last night in a 110/98 victory over the Detroit Pistons. His offensive game was a good one, playing 25 minutes and scoring 12 points on 5/9 from the field and 2/6 from three-point-land. He added three rebounds and six assists, coming away with a plus/minus of +15, tied with Marcus Morris for a team-high in that category.

Only two weeks ago, the NBA came up with several advanced statistics, one of which (Box Scores: Defensive) appears to be tailor-made for players like Marcus Smart. For Marcus' defensive performance against Detroit, they are very impressive. I will break them down for our readers. For the sake of clarity, I will not be exact, but the numbers will be very close:

1.) Marcus played roughly half-the-game, during which Detroit scored only 39% of their total points. They scored the remaining 61% when he was out.

2.) His match-ups (MU's) only scored nine points on 4/10 on field goals and 1/7 on threes. Smart was not contesting the successful attempts. See #4 below.

3.) His MU's shot no free throws. He committed no fouls against his match-ups.

4.) His MU's attempted no field goals, including threes, while he was contesting. That is an astounding statistic. No opponents want Marcus defending them.

5.) Without going into detail, numbers 3, 4 & 5 above account for nine defensive categories, all of which were zeros. That is amazing.

In the movie, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, John Wayne's character chides one of his troops, "Never apologize. It's a sign of weakness". Well, agree or not with Wayne's statement, but Marcus did apologize for the picture-punching incident, and he is anything but weak, both mentally and physically. According to DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony, Smart bench pressed 185-pounds for 19 reps at the Draft Combine. Pair that physical power with a laser-like mental focus on defense, and you have a tough time replacing anyone like that. We hope we never have to do that. Welcome back, Marcus. We need you!

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports
Video via gotgauze