Star point guard Kenny Anderson spent only five of his 14 NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics, but anyone who pays attention to his social media presence knows he retains a lot of loyalty to his former team, and pulled hard for them in this year’s playoffs.
He came out of the postseason run with the same opinion that many around the league held—that the Celtics could use one more experienced distributor off the bench, because Derrick White is more of a two-guard and a point man and that coach Ime Udoka did not have much trust in second-year man Payton Pritchard.
When Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett asked Anderson about his thoughts on the addition of Malcolm Brogdon by trade this summer, Anderson was quick to point out that Brogdon would be an ideal complement for Smart.
“I really love (Marcus) Smart and the way he plays the game, but I think Boston really needed another point guard to add to him,” Anderson said. “Smart’s a hell of a player, All-Defense team, but they needed another one, and they got one in Malcolm Brogdon. I love the pick-up. He’s going to do great.”
Kenny Anderson Coaching at Fisk University
Anderson, who starred for the Celtics from 1997-2002, averaged 11.3 points and 5.2 assists for the team, which was in a general downswing as a franchise. He was a key member of the 2002 Eastern Conference finals team that lost to the Nets in six games, however.
He was in Las Vegas as part of the league’s efforts to push opportunities for players who attend historically Black colleges. Anderson is the head coach at Fisk University in Tennessee, entering his fourth season with the Bulldogs, who were just 3-26 last year after having taken the previous season off because of COVID-19.
Who Should Start: Brogdon or Smart?
The Celtics pulled off their deal for Brogdon early in the summer’s free-agency period, getting him from the Pacers for a package highlighted by Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith and a 2023 first-rounder.
There is some question about how the Celtics will use Brogdon and Smart, though. Smart excelled in a starting role last season, averaging 12.1 points and 5.9 assists in 71 games, making 33.1% of his 3-pointers. Brogdon is more efficient offensively, averaging 19.1 points and 5.9 assists, though he had an off year shooting, knocking down only 31.2% of his 3s in 36 games.
As of now, the team appears bent on keeping last year’s starting five together, which means Smart as the point guard and Jaylen Brown as the shooting guard, with Brogdon coming off the bench as a sixth man. But it could, eventually, make sense to move Smart to the shooting guard spot with Brogdon starting at point guard.
“All three are a little different, game, as far as that goes,” Udoka said this week. “But they’re three guys that are very multi-dimensional. Previous starting guard that can do what we like to do, which is switch across the board and defend and score and make plays for others as well. So the combination out there, we feel good about our ballhandlers. … We feel good about those three, playing together, spelling each other at times.”