Entering his third season in the NBA, Marcus Smart is expecting to become a bigger contributor for the Boston Celtics, with the team having the option to release him after the season.
The former Oklahoma State star spoke to Logan Mullens of WEEI 93.7 FM, pretty much saying that he expected to become better, do better, and establish himself as a leader and a go to guy next season, something he hasn’t been able to do during his first two years in the league.
Becoming more aggressive. Becoming more of an offensive threat. I’m improving and trying to improve every aspect of my game. Trying to become more of a second to third, fourth option on the team in scoring, assists and everything. Just anything I can do to help my team on the offensive end.” Smart also expects to take on more of a leadership role this season, Mullen adds. “I’m ecstatic about it,” Smart said. “This is a great opportunity for anybody, and there’s a lot of people who would die to be in the situation I’m in, so it’s a blessing and I’m ready to step up, like I said. I’m ready for more responsibility, especially as a leader and that role and that aspect. It’s crazy because being able to say that this is a guy who is a leader on the team and it’s only his third year, it’s incredible.
Smart is an interesting case of not living up to potential, so far. After an excellent freshman campaign with the Cowboys, he wowed everyone by announcing he’s staying in Stillwater for another season. He did improve as a scorer and a bit as a shooter in year 2, but actually hurt his draft stock by going with a more loaded draft class and his flopping not helping him make fans. Early comparisons were to Russell Westbrook.
While Smart might be as athletic as Westbrook, and potentially a better defender, he doesn’t come close anywhere else. In two years with the Celtics, Smart has averaged 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 27 minutes per game, starting in 48 of his 128 appearances. His shooting is the biggest problem: 35.7% from the field (34.8% last season) and 29.6% from three (25.3% last season).
His energy and defense can be a great galvanizer off the bench for the Celtics at times, and he is expected to get more minutes with Evan Turner joining the Portland Trail Blazers, but unless he becomes a player who is smarter with his shot selection and offers a kind of threat from long range defenses have to respect, all his talk about becoming a leader and a primary offensive option will remain words being spoken, not actual development as a player.