For the entirety of Marcus Smart’s NBA career, the guard’s 3-point shooting has been an ongoing storyline.
There’s always been hope that Smart could resurrect his outside shot that has waxed and waned from year to year. But could this be the season that Smart shoots 40 percent from beyond the arc for the first time?
Smart believes the work he has done in the offseason will continue to improve his 3-point shooting and give the C’s another asset as they try to put even more stress on opposing defenses.
“It is validation,” said Smart on the progress he has made on his outside shot after he knocked down 4-of-6 3-point attempts in the C’s 100-75 preaseason win over the Orlando Magic Friday night. “Everyone has things to work on, for me it was my shot. And I’ve worked really hard on it.”
I asked Marcus Smart if his improved shooting is validation of how hard he's worked on it: "It is. It is validation. Everyone has things to work on, for me it was my shot. And I've worked really hard on it. It is validation."— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) October 12, 2019
Smart’s long-range shot has developed greatly since a horrific 3-point shooting season in 2015-16. Here is how Smart steadily improved as a 3-point shooter in his five NBA seasons:
2014-15: 91-of-272 on 3-pointers, 33.5 percent
2015-16: 61-of-241, 25.3 percent
2016-17: 94-of-332, 28.3 percent
2017-18: 75-of-249, 30.1 percent
2018-19: 126-for-346, 36.4 percent.
Smart has come a long way since his dismal shooting performance in his second season. The gradual rise, especially the striking leap he made from his fourth year to last season, should give fans confidence that if Smart can keep to that pace, he will be at least a competent 3-point shooter.
Marcus Smart says he knows people on the outside think his 3-point shooting last season was a fluke. He says it wasn’t. “I’m gonna get a lot of open shots, and I’m gonna make em.”— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) October 12, 2019
Confidence is something that Smart certainly doesn’t lack. Smart isn’t afraid to hoist 3-pointers and even broke out a patented Steph Curry move against the Magic by turning around after launching a triple so his back was turned as the ball swished through the net.
Marcus Smart didn't even need to make sure it went in pic.twitter.com/qyh8CI8iNK— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 12, 2019
“I didn’t mean to,” Smart said. “He closed out on me so hard, I was already leaning so that I wouldn’t roll an ankle. So I just spun all the way around. I didn’t even know it went in until I saw them take it out. But it felt good off my hand.”
Whenever Smart shares the floor with any combination of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown, he will be far from a primary scoring option.
But for Smart that will only open up more opportunities to take 3-pointers, which have a better percentage of going in than they did in the past.
“I’m gonna get a lot of open shots,” Smart said, “and I’m gonna make ‘em.”