We love and trust him. We deal with a shot selection that can sometimes make you want to gouge your eyes out because more often than not he's immediately going to do something awesome on the defensive end to make up for it. He is their captain, their heart, their soul, and the longest tenured Celtic on the roster.
To put it simply, Marcus Smart IS the Boston Celtics.
It's been a wild ride since Marcus first came into our lives in 2014. We've had ups, we've had downs and everything in between. There are nights he goes 0-billion from three and then there are nights he sets the franchise record of threes made in a game with 11. You have to just accept that the Marcus Smart Experience is not for the faint of heart.
I have to say though, it's pretty awesome to see Marcus finally get the respect we all knew he deserved when you start talking defense. Season after season went by and every year Marcus would get snubbed for either All Defense team. It made no sense. He finally had his very first selection to the First Team All Defense last season, but to be honest nothing we saw in 2018-19 was all that new. Marcus had been doing that shit for years and the defensive metrics match that
I mean look at the Defensive Win Shares, BLK%, STL%, DBPM etc. It's not all that different from what we are seeing over these last two seasons where Marcus is universally considered an All NBA defender. But we don't need to worry about that. The fact is in 2020 the people who work in the game know what us Celtic fans know. Marcus Smart is one bad motherfucker on the defensive end. In that article they polled 33 NBA coaches and they came up with their All NBA Defensive Teams. This was their first team
You won't get one ounce of disagreement from me. In fact this is basically what I said when my brain broke upon hearing ESPN "experts" give Patrick Beverley more DPOY votes than either Simmons or Smart. It made no goddamn sense since those two were going to make All NBA First Team.
Simmons and Smart have had the best defensive seasons of any guard, and Simmons has probably been slightly better but Pat Bev is a more worthy DPOY?????? Woof.
So once I saw this list from coaches in the league I was relieved that there are actually people with eyes that are seeing what we are all seeing, but once I saw the quotes? Oh baby that's when things got NSFW
But Smart’s name was often mentioned first by coaches when they were asked about their All-Defensive First Team. He is an intense, rugged, determined defender who can guard multiple positions.
“He’s just that good,” one coach said. “My first pick without hesitation.”
Another coach said of Smart: “I really love his intensity, his willingness to guard anybody. And he’s only 6-foot-3. You’ve got to admire somebody like that who sacrifices his body and takes charges. When there’s a loose ball, and if it’s our player or another player that’s going to get it, I’m sorry, Marcus Smart is coming away with that ball.”
What makes Smart such a force defensively isn't just his hustle or his intensity. It's that he can handle every position at an elite level. Point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center, it doesn't matter. Not only that, he mostly does it without help
Now he's not perfect. We've seen his on ball defense be a little iffy at times with quick/shifty scoring point guards. I'd say that's where someone like Simmons is better. You can't get by that dude. But what makes Smart so valuable to a team that owns the league's 4th best defense is the fact that you can throw him in any lineup. He's the ultimate swiss army knife. You want to go small? OK no big deal Smart can just guard every big in the league. You want to go a little bigger? No big deal he's a tremendous facilitator and can initiate your offense.
It's no surprise the Celts Drtg goes from 104.3 with him on the floor and then jumps to 106.1 when he steps off. Smart is the straw that stirs the drink. He's always the one you see making the perfectly timed rotation, he challenges everyone at the rim, he's about as complete a defender as you'll see in today's NBA.
So it's great to see that coaches in the league are finally coming around to what we've all known for years. Barring injury I can't imagine him not being on one of the two All NBA Defensive teams for years to come, and it's a shame that it took this long for him to get the recognition he so obviously deserves.