Brad Stevens is the perfect coach to get the most out of Marcus Smart
It was a long a frustrating process, but the Boston Celtics have finally brought Marcus Smart back. This is where he wants to be and it is where he can flourish the most. He has been here his whole career, and he has showcased one of the most special presences in the NBA, most of that coming on defense.
Smart is a very unique player, and his defense would be valuable anywhere. With the Celtics, however, there is one big difference that really allows Smart to embrace everything he is good at. Brad Stevens truly is the best possible coach for Smart, because he enables him to play the way he knows how to.
Stevens knows how to handle Smart, making sure no problem is really detrimental to the team. Smart can be problematic, but it is always kept under control. On top of that, Smart is far too good of a teammate to ever let any issues hurt the players around him and that may not have been the case without Stevens.
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Coming out of college, Smart was a wild card. He’s always had that temper, and there was great risk for a lot of drama. When you think about the broken hand this season and certain altercations on the court, Smart could easily be a high maintenance player.
With the Celtics, that is not the case. With Stevens behind him, there is always a consistent presence that keeps everything in line. Stevens knows better than anyone when Smart is hurting the team, and he will not tolerate it.
Stevens allows Smart to play with the kind of intensity that makes him out of control, but mitigates it by harnessing everything. Stevens knows how to make sure all the energy and intensity that Smart has will make a difference on the court, and that is why he is able to impact the game is so many ways.
Smart is the first person that might fly off the handle, and Stevens is the last. Smart always takes responsibility for everything he does on the court, and never tolerates it when he is hurting the team.
Smart plays with too much intelligence for him to be hurting the team on a regular basis, but it is hard to imagine him maintaining that approach if it was not for Stevens.
And with the defense Smart brings, Stevens will always want him on his team. Defense is how you earn trust and Smart has more of that than anyone else. No matter what he does on offense, no matter how many bad shots he takes, there is faith that Smart will make up for it on defense.
With Stevens, that ability to make up for things on defense is more valuable than being able to make up for it on offense. Smart is the exact kind of player that Stevens will always want on defense and the team will never be lacking any kind of fire and intensity, even if his presence might be the most calm in the NBA.
Smart and Stevens have been together the longest. They know this team better than anyone else, and the rebuild would not feel complete without the two of them. Now that Smart is secured for the long term, it feels like the rebuild has truly reached the culmination.