In case you haven't noticed, I'm completely all-in on the Marcus Smart train. He's the real deal and he's only getting better. Obviously he's still a rookie and he's got a ton of things to learn and work on, but he's putting in the hours and he's making tangible progress right before our eyes.
The neat thing too is that we don't have to conceptually imagine how his skills will translate into future success as we do with many young players. He's helping this team win basketball games right here and now. The guy is a winner and he forces the issue instead of letting the game come to him.
You can see him developing into a leader as well. Maybe not yet in the sense of being a vocal guy in the locker room (though that could come with time). It is more of a leadership-by-example thing, as Gerald Wallace explains.
"I think he leads by his play on the court," Wallace said. "He leads by example. He doesn’t do much talking, but the way he goes out and competes makes his teammates want to compete that much harder. "I think he’s just being aggressive. The main thing we tell him is that if he’s open, shoot the ball. Don’t hesitate. Don’t think twice about it. We already know he’s looking in attack mode all the time. We have to tell him sometimes just to slow down and, you know, kind of control the game. But we know that’s the way he plays, and sometimes you have to let him go."
Wallace had many glowing things to say about the kid in the link above. You can tell that he's earned the respect of the whole team from the coaches on down.
I honestly don't know what Smart's upside is and I hesitate to put labels on him or compare him too closely to other players (which always leads to silly debates). All I know is that he's a fantastic young player that looks to be a very, very important piece of the puzzle moving forward.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing how he continues to grow and develop in Celtic green.