Marcus Smart may not have started as the NBA’s best volume shooter, but he’s slowly becoming the heart and soul of the Boston Celtics. The 26-year-old’s unpredictability and strength on the court make him a valuable asset to his franchise, and it’s never been clearer than the playoffs.
Marcus Smart is known for making mistakes, but the shooting guard always takes advantage of his rival’s weaknesses. His work on the court recently paid off as he just joined a historically elite unit of basketball. Here’s what you need to know.
Marcus Smart’s impressive game 2 performance
Smart is known for his hustle in the court and not so much his shooting. That’s why his rival teammates didn’t expect he could be the one to bring the trophy home of the Celtics. With a 102-99 score, Boston took a 2-0 series lead in the game against the Toronto Raptors.
The Celtics are made up of some of the best names in the NBA today, with players like Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown leading the pack. However, it is not lost to fans that Marcus Smart’s energy is an excellent asset for the team, as seen in the Celtics’ faceoff with the Raptors.
Smart put up an excellent play knocking down five straight 3-pointers toward the fourth quarter of the game alone. Raptors star Kyle Lowry was later asked if his team let Smart get away with the win. He replied, stating that it is difficult to let another player get away with five threes.
Smart’s not-so-impressive shooting skills have improved with time
Whenever the Celtics play, it’s challenging to focus on Smart’s ability as a player. When he first joined the NBA as a point guard, details SB Nation, he struggled to score and always fell under 40% in his first three seasons. Many considered the Celtics defender one of the worst shooters in NBA history.
Smart’s three-point shot was unstable, to say the least. He regularly finished 30% behind in all the three seasons of his career. While his relentless attitude and personality in the court make him a great asset for the Celtics, the player comes in short in skills.
Smart’s volume shooting skills have improved over the years. His impressive win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 is a testament to how much he’s progressed. Smart’s catch-and-shoot attempt, however, has been a significant factor for improving his shooting quality.
This strategy has enabled Smart to rise from shooting at 34% last year to shooting at 46%. His progression as a volume shooter has earned him some attention in the league as a rising player.
Smart recently joined elite company
Smart’s improved shooting quality has garnered increased attention in basketball circles. It’s resulted in him joining the company of some elite players. Smart became the fifth player since 1997 to hit five or more three-pointers in the fourth quarter of a playoff game. The others on the list include Jamal Murray (twice), Steph Curry (twice), Klay Thompson, and Tim Thomas.
All the players mentioned above have displayed impressive shooting skills in their careers, except Thomas. The 1997 NBA draft pick was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, who got impatient with his sophomore slump. Thomas averaged in 23.2 points on a 30.5% shooting. Many of his teammates noted that Thomas could’ve been a great player but never put in enough effort.