Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart
25-Year-Old GuardG
Boston Celtics
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Smart comes into the new season with more clarity in the Celtics' backcourt than he's had in three seasons. With Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier no longer on the roster, Smart has a strong opportunity to start at the two-guard next to Kemba Walker. Known for his nagging defense, Smart recorded a career-high 2.0 combined blocks/steals per game in 2018-19 and finished third in the NBA in total steals en route to his first All-Defensive Team selection. He's recorded at least 1.7 combined blocks/steals in all five seasons in his career, and it's fair to expect that level of production to continue in 2019-20. Though Smart produced a four-year low in points (8.9), he improved his efficiency tremendously with career highs in field goal percentage (42.2) and three-point percentage (36.4). Smart has also averaged 3.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds in his career, and those numbers could see a bump in 2019-20 without Irving and Rozier. The defensive production should remain elite this season, but Smart's true value lies in his ability to continue improving his shooting. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Celtics in July of 2018.
Out for rest
GBoston Celtics
October 15, 2019
Smart will not play in Tuesday's preseason game against the Cavaliers, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports.
The Celtics will rest virtually the entire top of their rotation in the preseason finale, so expect a number of bench players and rookies to be in line for extended looks.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After a lengthy restricted free agency stand-off, Smart and his feisty defense are staying in Boston. The versatile defender signed a four-year contract in July to stay with the team that drafted him sixth overall back in 2014. While Boston retained its most versatile defender, Smart's return further complicates what was already going to be a logjam in the backcourt and on the wing. Smart can play the point, shooting guard or small forward, but opportunities at all three positions will be hotly contested. At point guard, Boston expects a full -season out of Kyrie Irving, after losing him in March to a knee injury. While Irving was out, Terry Rozier, who's set to hit free agency next summer, proved worthy of starter's minutes. Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum will each command significant roles on the wing, so it seems inevitable that Smart’s minutes will take a bit of a dip in 2018-19. The hope is that Smart will finally demonstrate some meaningful improvement as a jump-shooter, though at this point that may be wishful thinking. The four-year veteran is shooting 36 percent from the field for his career, with few indications of improvement. Poor shooting aside, Smart led Boston in steals per game last season, as well as assists per minute.
Over Smart’s first three years in the Association, no one has ever questioned his defensive ferocity. The problem is his shooting. It was assumed that Smart would improve from the 37 percent effort that occurred his rookie season. Unfortunately, Smart’s shooting has actually gotten worse. After struggling to shoot 35 percent during his sophomore season, Smart posted a meager 36 percent in 2016-17. Still, Coach Brad Stevens continued to stress Smart’s game changing defensive plays, increasing his floor time to 30.0 minutes per game in 2016-17. The guard’s 4.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 threes made per game (last year’s stats) certainly make his poor shooting more tolerable. And with Avery Bradley now in Detroit, Smart has the opportunity to battle Jaylen Brown for the starting shooting guard spot. Smart currently sits atop the shooting guard depth chart due to seniority, but much can change throughout the preseason. Coach Stevens likes going small with Smart off the bench, asking Smart to shut down opposing small forwards. Stevens would lose that defensive bench flexibility with Smart in the starting lineup. With Jae Crowder now in Cleveland, expect Smart’s defensive shutdown assignments to increase. Either as a starter or sixth man, expect Smart’s minutes to stay the course. And expect similar shooting woes, too.
After an up-and-down rookie season, Smart followed up with much of the same in 2015-16. The former lottery pick struggled mightily as a shooter, converting just 34.8 percent of his attempts from the field and a horrific 25.3 percent from three-point land. Even so, his tenacious defense and relentless attacking ability kept him firmly in coach Brad Stevens' deep rotation, when healthy. Smart missed 21 games, including 18 in a row from Nov. 22 to Dec. 27 while recovering from a lower-leg injury, but played in the Celtics' final 52 contests. Smart began the year as a starter but played exclusively off the bench after returning from injury. His role wasn't greatly impacted, however, as he saw at least 20 minutes in every game after Dec. 31. The 22-year-old remains a foundational piece in a still-developing Celtics backcourt, but he simply must improve his shooting efficiency to mount a serious challenge to Avery Bradley for the starting shooting guard spot. With Evan Turner now in Portland, Smart projects to serve as the Celtics' versatile sixth man, vacillating between both guard spots depending on need.
As a rookie in 2014-15, Smart struggled through Achilles and ankle injuries to play in 67 games, averaging 7.8 points, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.4 three-pointers per game. When available, Smart and Avery Bradley made for a lethal defensive backcourt, giving head coach Brad Stevens lots of opportunities to frustrate opponents, but Smart struggled offensively, shooting only 37 percent from the field, 34 percent from three land, and 65 percent from the free-throw line. The Celtics would clearly like to improve on Smart's 27 minutes per game, but that will be difficult with 2015 first-round picks Terry Rozier and R. J. Hunter also needing backcourt minutes to develop. Plus, the C's desperately need Isaiah Thomas' scoring. Evan Turner also proved last year that he can play both backcourt positions. Smart's aggressive defensive style leads to injuries, as demonstrated by the two fingers he dislocated during the Las Vegas Summer League. GM Danny Ainge's constant collecting of assets will eventually result in a trade that will shuffle the roster, which could further improve Smart's opportunities to play. Smart, the sixth pick of the 2014 draft, clearly has loads of potential. But there are too many obstacles in his path to predict a breakout sophomore season.
Smart is viewed as a combo guard with a primary focus as a point guard. If the Celtics drafted him to be a shooting guard, he'll need to improve in one significant area – his shooting. The sixth-overall pick in the draft shot just 29 percent during the summer league. While he managed to make 42 percent of his shots at Oklahoma State, much of that was due to Smart's ability to get to the rim. He made just 28 percent of his jump shots in the half-court offense. Smart is well-built and uses his body to create opportunities for himself, particularly on the drive. He averaged more than eight free-throw attempts per game for the Cowboys last season. Smart's also considered one of the top perimeter defenders coming out of college this year, a trait that pleases coach Brad Stevens. The coach has talked about establishing a "defensive DNA" for his team, and Smart fits that profile. He now joins a Celtics team that's got an elite point guard in Rajon Rondo and just signed its shooting guard, Avery Bradley, to a four-year contract. Initially, it looks like Smart will back up both guard spots. However, there's potential for an increased role later in the season, particularly if Boston trades Rondo, who is in the final year of his contract before hitting unrestricted free agency.
More Fantasy News
Fills in admirably Friday
GBoston Celtics
October 12, 2019
Smart ended with 14 points (5-9 FG, 4-6 3Pt), four assists, two rebounds, and one steal in 21 minutes during Friday's 100-75 preseason win over Orlando
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Dealing with illness
GBoston Celtics
October 3, 2019
Smart did not practice Thursday due to an illness, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports.
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Shut down for remaining FIBA play
GBoston Celtics
September 11, 2019
Smart, due to minor injuries, will sit out Team USA's remaining games, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
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Back in action for USA squad
GBoston Celtics
September 9, 2019
Smart played in both of the United States' last two games in the FIBA World Cup, signaling that he's moved past the strained left quadriceps muscle he dealt with last week.
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Sits out vs. Japan
GBoston Celtics
September 5, 2019
Smart (quad) did not play in Thursday's FIBA World Cup win over Japan.
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