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Marcus Smart Loves His New Role.
Isaiah Thomas has said it. Brad has openly talked about it. I have been repeating it since training camp. The Celtics are going to miss Evan Turner. What Evan Turner provided you could not quantify to a stat sheet. He just knew what it took to win a basketball game. Evan Turner would play positions 1 through 3 and could quietly score 15 points every couple of nights. Was he ever a great shooter? No. Would he drive you crazy with some of his bonehead decisions? Absolutely, but that was just part of the Evan Turner package. What you got out of Evan Turner was a great locker room guy who would do anything he needed to do to get a win.
Through the first seven games of the season the Boston Celtics were 3-4 and just didn’t look like the Boston Celtics out there. They were terrible on defense and posted a 116.5 defensive rating. There was no hustle, there was no heart, there was no Evan Turner. The Celtics couldn’t stop anybody from scoring, they couldn’t rebound the ball, and they just looked like they did not want to be out there.
Then the Celtics held a player’s only meeting and something clicked. Since that meeting, the Celtics are 6-2 and look like a completely different team. In that time they posted a defensive rating of 100. Players were starting to play with hustle, key guys returned to the lineup, and all was good in Celtic land.
The difference between the pre-players meeting Celtics and the post-players meeting Celtics? The Boston Celtics have found themselves an Evan Turner. Marcus Smart is the glue that this Celtics team needs to get them through the season. When Jae Crowder was out Marcus started at small forward. He has guarded point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, and even centers at times. He has guarded Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kristapz Porzingis all about as well as a 6’4 guard possibly could.
Marcus Smart's Game Log
In the time since the players meeting he has been much more vocal as well. After a comeback win against the Timberwolves, Marcus Smart told Abby Chin of CSN about a speech he had in the Celtics huddle. “I was telling my guys, “We’re being punked out there. They’re getting every offensive rebound. They’re getting whatever they want in the paint. Nobody’s boxing out, they’re pushing us under there. I just had enough of it." He backed up what he was saying too. He finished the fourth quarter with four more rebounds following that timeout. He helped push the pace and willed the Celtics to a comeback victory.
Marcus Smart has assumed the Evan Turner role perfectly. What really makes Marcus Smart the perfect fit for this role however is that this team only goes as far as Marcus takes them. Literally. In games this season where Marcus has had a net positive game the Boston Celtics are 7-0. When he posts a game as a net negative the Celtics are 0-5. When Marcus plays well, the Celtics play well. When Marcus plays poorly, the Celtics play poorly. He is what drives this Celtics team and you can clearly see it in his game. He doesn’t post eye popping numbers, he’s not going to have a high field goal percentage either; but Marcus Smart will get a key turnover or rebound when the Celtics desperately need one, he will slow down the opposing teams best player no matter the position, and he will do whatever he possibly can do to will his team to victory. The Boston Celtics have found their Evan Turner in Marcus Smart and they will go as far as he takes them.
By: Alex Bernstien (@FansTakeSports)