Marcus Smart is still a Celtic after Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, and that should make you happy.
Despite shooting just 37.5 percent from the field this season, Smart has been one of the most valuable players on the Celtics roster. Why? Because he’s a Cyborg warrior whose prime directive is to make winning plays. Smarticus impacts winning like weather impacts a picnic. He’s a tone-setting difference maker, and this isn’t just hyperbole (although I majored in hyperbole in college).
Since Avery Bradley’s last game, Smart has been a top 10 guard in several key categories. He’s first in steals with 39, and is second in contested 3-point field goals (65) and deflections (59). Oh, and he also might be shedding that “flopper” label. He’s drawn five charges over that span, which is tied for second among guards.
It hasn’t just been since Bradley’s injury, either. For the season Smart has raised his game in “clutch” situations (five-point game with five or fewer minutes to go). Smart has seven clutch offensive rebounds, which is the third most among guards. His offensive-rebound percentage jumps from 3.4 to 7.1 in the clutch, and his Net Rating goes from +5.6 to +17.0.
So while names like Paul George and Jimmy Butler may sound nice as potential trade targets, you may want to think twice about including your budding game-changer in the deal.
BOSTON – Kyrie Irving will undergo a “minimally invasive procedure” on Saturday to help alleviate the left knee soreness that has kept the five-time all-star out for the last four games.
On Thursday, Irving had a second opinion on his left knee and spent yesterday and today consulting with other medical officials to determine what the best course of action would be for Irving going forward.
While no timetable has been set for his return – that will likely be announced following the procedure tomorrow – it doesn’t sound as though it’ll keep him sidelined for a significant amount of time.
Irving, acquired by Boston from Cleveland during the offseason via trade, has appeared in 60 games and has had arguably his most efficient season as a scorer in the NBA.
The 26-year-old has averaged 24.4 points per game this season while shooting a career-high 49.1 percent from the field. Irving has continued to showcase a strong game from 3-point range as well, connecting on 40.8 percent of his 3’s this season. He has also managed to get his teammates involved with a team-high 5.1 assists per game along with snatching 3.8 rebounds which is a career high.
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