In his second year in the league, Marcus Smart is still a work in progress on offense. His shooting is a little spotty and his pick and roll game still needs work. But there are signs that he's improving and evolving as a player. It all starts with his physical gifts.
Marcus Smart has excellent size for a point guard at 6'4", 225 pounds. He won't blow past defenders with the unbelievable quickness of someone like John Wall, but he can exploit weaknesses in players with his size. The usual focus is on the defensive versatility that his size creates. See his gutsy defense on Kawhi Leonard the other night for one of many examples. However, Smart can use his frame to his advantage on offense too. When establishes position, he's showing an ability to punish smaller guards. There haven't been many looks at Marcus Smart's post game this season, but the limited reps have been encouraging.
In the midst of a wretched offensive performance against the Spurs, Boston had some productive possessions that started with Smart down low.
On this play, he's able to get inside position after a nice off-ball screen set by Sullinger. Sully then gets the ball and delivers a bounce pass right to Smart. Tony Parker, while an excellent player, doesn't have the size to handle Smart inside. Smart is able to turn and finish without Parker troubling him much.
That play looks similar to one the Celtics ran in preseason against Brooklyn.
Once again, Smart gains position after a screen. He's only a few feet away from the basket when he catches the ball, so this is a great spot to be in. He gives a quick ball fake and fades away to create space. Smart then nails the jumper over the defender.
Obviously scoring is great, but there's more. He can create opportunities for other players as well. This play begins with Smart backing down Tony Parker.
His strength is really on display here, you can see Parker immediately ceding ground. When LaMarcus Aldridge is forced to help, Smart swings the ball to Amir Johnson in the corner. This sets off a chain of great ball movement that beats San Antonio's rotation and ends with an open shot for Avery Bradley. (On a side note, look how quickly Kawhi makes it to the corner. He's insanely good.) Smart won't get an assist on the Bradley 3, but it was Smart's effort that started it off.
The glut of big men in Boston's rotation limits the amount of post touches Smart can get. Brad Stevens is great at finding clever ways to use players though. Smart's strength is something that differentiates him from other players at his position, and something that Stevens can utilize. Letting Marcus Smart bully smaller players down low could be an interesting way to spice up the offense when the matchup allows for it.