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Recent History Helps Show Why Trading Marcus Smart Would Be A Mistake

Brian Babineau. Getty Images.

Last Friday marked my 6th year (7th season) of having the privilege, and it most certainly is a privilege, of blogging about the Celtics for the best website on the entire internet. Over that span, we've gone through quite a journey together. Like anyone else who lives and breathes this team, I've had my fair share of takes. Some didn't work out, some proved to be right. I remember getting killed for saying the Isaiah to Kyrie transition would be a lateral move at best, and that turned out to be true. They went no deeper in the playoffs with Kyrie than they did with Isaiah. I've also been wrong every year when I consider this team a title contender and they haven't even made a Finals yet. It's a give and take world.

Last year I spent the majority of the season arguing about Gordon Hayward. How important he was when healthy to what the Celtics want to do, and that he was actually really good after working his way back from his injury. Many stoolies and fans filled those blogs and tweeted me talking about how he sucked and they wanted him gone. That he was more of a negative than a positive and they were better without him. That never made sense to me and still doesn't to this day. Now that he's flourishing as a Hornet, I think we all agree that this current Celtics team desperately misses him. Everything from his skillset, to the lineup flexibility he gave Brad, it's a glaring hole in this current roster. Turns out he's the exact player they are currently missing.

So why am I even bringing this up?

Because I feel like this same exact thing is currently happening with Marcus Smart. Now let's be honest. This is a down year for Smart. Much like Hayward's first year after his injury was a down year. His offense has taken a giant step back and his defense has been pretty brutal even before his calf injury. I just blogged about how since his return he's been more of a negative than a positive. That's the truth of the situation at the moment. But I urge you to remember the Gordon Hayward situation. You look at the comments of my blogs or go on Twitter you'll see Celtics fans BEGGING for him to be traded. It's like they completely forget what we just lived through just last season.

This is not me saying Smart is untouchable. Nobody in the NBA is really untouchable, so don't take this the wrong way. My point is mostly that unless you're bringing back a legit stud in a potential Smart trade (you aren't), this team is worse without him. To me, that's an undeniable fact. It's not just all the nonbasketball stuff you hear about like him being the heart and soul and the leader and all that. While important, it's not even the main reason I believe this. I'm talking strictly from a basketball production standpoint.

Due to his less than ideal shot selection at times, I think people tend overlook everything else he does on the floor. If you remove Smart for let's say that rumored Evan Fournier deal or whatever, think of how much you're losing that you will not be able to easily replace. For a team that is already extremely low on consistent and legit playmaking, losing Smart would be a big time problem. Even if you think his on ball defense has regressed a little (I do), just watch any Celtics game. It's Smart that is directing traffic, helping call out rotations, helping guys like Rob be in the right spot, and a willing defender who guards all 5 positions. Those players do not grow on trees. He's also proven to single handedly win you playoff series. That Raptors series is a thing that actually exists.

Think of what the Celts potential playoff path might look like. I can almost guarantee that all the people that want Smart off this team immediately will be wishing they had someone with his defensive versatility in a potential series against someone like the Nets or Sixers. With Kemba being sort of an unknown, Smart as a primary point guard becomes even more important. Again, this is not to say Smart isn't without his faults. It's all part of the Marcus Smart experience. I just urge you to remember the Gordon Hayward situation. The same people who said we would be better without him are probably saying the Celts would be better without Smart. How is that working out?  

He needs to be better. The same is true with the Jays. The same is true with Kemba. The same is true with Brad. But we have a large enough sample size with Smart on this roster to know how important he is to their success. When he plays to his potential and plays the right way, they become a different team. 

I know this won't change the minds of everyone who hates Smart and want him off the roster. I get that. I'm just someone who has seen this exact scenario play out with another really talented player who people wanted traded or off the team and it made things worse, not better.

I have no doubt history would repeat itself when it comes to Smart, and nobody should want that.