The Algebra of the “Marcus Smart Effect”: Quantifying the Intangible

Marcus Smart returned to Coach Brad Stevens’s playing rotation against the Pistons Friday night, contributing 25:53 of court time spread over two stints – Smart logged the final 5:10 of Q1 and first 6:41 of Q2, then the closing 6:14 of Q3 and initial 7:49 of Q4.

When Marcus was riding pine, Detroit was successful on 19 of 37 FG attempts (.514) and exactly half of their 12 3FGA’s. With Smart in the line-up, the Van Gundy Gang was 18 for 48 (.375) from the field, a paltry four for 21 (.190) from distance. In addition, the Pistons earned 17 free throw attempts (good for eight conversions) while No. 36 was cooling his heels – only four FTA’s (two conversions) during his PT.

With Marcus Smart on the court last night, Detroit converted 20 of 48 possessions (.417), good for 42 points (0.875 points per possession). Without Smart’s floor presence, the opposition converted 27 of 46 possessions (.587) and scored 56 points (1.217 ppp).

On the offensive end of the floor, the team’s performance with and without Smart was more consistent. Field-goal shooting was just under .500 in both cases. The squad was tougher on the O-boards with Marcus – but was slightly better in taking care of the ball, getting to the FT line, and shooting treys without him.

Overall, Boston scored 57 points in 50 possessions (1.140 ppp) with Marcus, 53 in 44 (1.205) without.

Mr. Webster defines “intangible” as “that which cannot be perceived or measured.” He should have added “that which causes confusion and frustration” – particularly to Coach Stan & Co.