By Jackson Daignault ’18
Boston, a city with 37 professional championships, is no stranger to success.
The Celtics, a franchise that holds the most NBA championships ever (17) and currently holds the record for most wins of all time, resides here.
The New England Patriots, who recently captured their fifth Super Bowl victory thanks to the never ending success of quarterback Tom Brady, primarily bases itself in Boston.
The Red Sox, who have nine World Series victories, three of which are in the last 15 years, play their games on Yawkey Way.
The moral of the story is that Boston is a successful city. The fans love watching their teams play, and the teams love being able to represent their Bostonian fans.
One recurring theme in Boston sports is the presence of an enforcer; a player who maintains the grit and grind that makes Boston fans go crazy.
The Celtics had Kevin Garnett; the Pats have Brady; the Red Sox had Jason Varitek. This current Celtics team has Marcus Smart, a third year guard from Oklahoma State University.
Smart may not be the best shooter; he may only be averaging 10 points per game. But there’s one thing that Smart does not lack: heart. Time after time, TD Garden is blessed with a Marcus Smart hustle play; or a ball saving move.
Smart has showcased the heart and desire that Boston fans thirst for. Smart puts on a show for Celtics fans, never letting them question his heart and desire to win games.
Smart has never allowed anyone to question his offense. Although he doesn’t fill the stat sheet night in and night out, Smart is a strong, downright crazy presence on the floor. The feats Smart will go to in order to win games are unparalleled.
Although many can make the argument that Jae Crowder could fit this bill, Smart has continued to be an energizer off the bench for them, and continues to fill his role: enforcer.
Smart is averaging nearly four rebounds a game, close to the top of the team leader boards, and the only guard, besides Avery Bradley, who is even in the top eight. Smart is willing to put his body on the line night after night in order to give his team the best chance to win.
Smart also makes a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball, where he has a +/- of +6.2 . Smart is considered to be one of the best on ball defenders in the league, and it shows with his career average of 1.5 steals per game.
Last season, the Celtics had a top 10 defense thanks in part to the never ending hustle of Marcus Smart. The Celtics made the playoffs, and although they were defeated in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks, they would not have been able to get there without the continuous heart of Smart, where he had 27 rebounds and 10 steals in six games. Smart made a big difference on the defensive ball for the Celtics, where he shadowed sharpshooter Kyle Korver. After a game four win against Atlanta, Isaiah Thomas praised Smart, saying “[Marcus Smart] is going to be a special player in this league.” Smart was also often asked to guard larger opponents, such as Paul Millsap, who he held to 1 for 5 shooting against him in game 4.
Although the Celtics ended up getting ousted in the first round, Smart was a hawk on defense and showed his heart to the city of Boston.
As much as can be said about Smart’s tremendous defense and ability to defend any position 1-4, Smart is still not an effective offensive player. Smart makes up for his lack of offense with stunning hustle and defense, but if he can pick it up on the offensive side of the ball, teams will start to respect him even more. Once Smart makes these offensive strides, Boston will embrace him even more.
As Smart continues to mature on and off the court, his offensive game will eventually catch up to his ability to work hard. But for now, Smart has shown the Celtics, and the city of Boston, that he bleeds green.