Every year around this time you hear stories about guys being in the “best shape of their lives.” Bonus points if it is a guy in his contract year. Marcus Smart checks both boxes in his comments from yesterday.
Marcus Smart says he's lost 20 pounds this summer. Now weighs 219 lbs. "I've been in the gym non-stop. It's a new me. I'm more explosive."— Taylor C. Snow (@taylorcsnow) September 6, 2017
See the full video here at CSNNE.
There have been rumblings about Smart’s weight and conditioning and if he was really playing at 240, that seems pretty high for a point guard. On the other hand, Smart isn’t the average point guard. He sometimes threw his weight around in the paint like a point-center. His size and strength are some of his defining characteristics.
With that said, he could use some more speed and explosiveness in his game. As Jay King points out:
How much could additional explosiveness help? Smart's most obvious deficiency is 3-point accuracy, but he has also been missing juice on his way to the hoop. That's partly why his free throw attempts (3.2 per game last season) and finishing within three feet (48.8 percent, according to Basketball-Reference.com) were both underwhelming for such a big, physical guard. He doesn't achieve much separation off the bounce and has never had much burst near the rim; though he went wild from behind the arc during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he also had too much trouble late in that series beating Cleveland's bigs on switches.
A more explosive Marcus Smart would be huge for this team if it does in fact translate to better efficiency. With that said, I’m always a little skeptical at this time of year, in particular in regards to guys in their contract years.
Still, it is always encouraging to hear of a young guy making good progress in the offseason. He’s still just 23 years old and if he can solidify himself as a positive force on the court, he could grow and build with this young Celtics core for a while.