Next great perimeter defender, per a couple scouts I talked to this week: Marcus Smart. All the tools. Scouts love how he embraces contact.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) September 3, 2014
Smart’s rep coming in was that of a tenacious defender, and he’s only adding to that as time moves on this offseason. He’s made some great strides and opened up some eyes as part of the USA Select team. And now more and more scouts are looking at him in the same way they’ve viewed Avery Bradley.
We’ll have to wait and see how this all develops, of course. Let’s not jump the gun and make him DPOY before training camp. The one plus side to the current Celtics situation is that Smart can take time and learn without being forced into difficult situations. He can avoid developing bad habits, and even miss games or go to Portland if he needs to. This isn’t a “win now” situation for the Celtics.
However, he can potentially be part of a three-guard rotation with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. And because he’s on his rookie deal, the most he’ll cost the Celtics is $4.5 million and that won’t come until the 2017-18 season. So the Celtics have four years of Smart on his rookie deal, which gives them plenty of flexibility. He can play as part of this three-guard backcourt for that entire span, replace Rondo if he leaves as a free agent or is traded, or Bradley if he’s traded at some point.
That all, of course, is something to consider down the road. There is no real immediate need for the Celtics to rid themselves of anyone. Let’s just watch Smart develop as a player this year and enjoy the many ways the Celtics could use this potential lock-down backcourt.