When the Boston Celtics made the decision to give Marcus Smart the reigns as their starting point guard last season, nobody envisioned how much he would develop throughout the season.
By entrusting Smart to be the team’s defacto floor general, Boston empowered their combative guard, and he rose to the challenge as the season wore on – even winning Defensive Player of The Year honors as a result.
However, it would seem that things could have been so different for Smart, had he chosen to stick with his football career instead of making the switch to basketball – a move which he believes could have helped several NFL teams this season, especially his beloved Dallas Cowboys.
“You wouldn’t believe me, I actually played football before I played basketball. You wouldn’t believe me, I actually played football before I played basketball. I actually played quarterback, wide receiver, and safety. I played a couple of positions, but I could definitely play quarterback…I know my Cowboys ain’t doing too well. I had it all. I could run fast, had the legs, I could read the defense, and I was tall enough to see over my linemen. … I had it all.” Smart told Rich Eisen during a recent appearance on the Rich Eisen show.
Given Smart’s willingness to sacrifice his body, and his unparalleled commitment to winning at all costs, there’s no doubt that the six-foot-three guard could have succeeded on the Grid Iron, but thankfully, he chose to commit to basketball and it’s the Celtics who are reaping the rewards.
Smart Blames Lack of Depth For Finals Loss
Boston may have been slow out of the gates last season, but at the turn of the year, they had figured things out and were rolling through the business end of their regular-season schedule. The Celtics red-hot form continued into the post-season, which saw Boston make the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
During a September 14 interview with The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, Smart opened up on what he believes cost the Celtics an opportunity to raise another banner in the TD Garden: a lack of roster depth.
“I think depth was one of the big things that hurt us. You had me, Jayson (Tatum), Jaylen (Brown), and our starters playing, clawing, and we did it to ourselves…We put ourselves in that situation early on, having to fight back through injuries and stuff. Being able to have that depth of guys who are experienced and understand the game such as Gallo and Brogdon definitely will help us with that,” Smart said.
It would seem the front office had similar thoughts, as once the free agency period opened up, Brad Stevens moved quickly to acquire Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, in the hopes that those two veterans could help move the needle for his young and contending team.
Derrick White Named Celtics Most Overrated Player
Smart is no stranger to criticism, especially when it comes to his ability to score from the field at a consistent clip. However, Celtics fans across the world have all embraced the Texas native’s patchy scoring form due to his incredible defense, leadership, and commitment to the franchise.
Yet, Derrick White hasn’t earned that type of cache with the fanbase yet, and as such, is still seen as a net negative when playing on the offensive end – leading to a new wave of criticism for the recently-acquired guard.
“You know, and I kept hearing through throughout his short time with the Celtics and and and into the playoffs that he’s doing things out there, that he’s making winning plays and they haven’t had a guy like him, and Ime loves him and all this stuff. But in the end, I mean, he came in for 26 games and shot 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from the three-point line.
He had some pretty good moments in the playoffs, for sure, but still 36 percent from the field, 31 percent from the three point line. This is common in his career. It’s been the knock on him – that he’s not a consistent shooter. And that’s gonna hold him back,” Deveney said.
Hopefully, Smart can sit down with White and share some of his experiences, so that both guards can continue to thrive under Ime Udoka and help Boston continue to challenge for a championship in the seasons to come.