Celtics

Celtics

Ever since Marcus Smart first donned a Boston Celtics jersey, the 6-foot-4 guard has remained confident in his abilities to contribute to this team.

And while that confidence remains strong as ever, it may not necessarily result in him beginning this season as a starter.

Smart was asked in Milan on Sunday morning if he felt he was the team’s starting point guard right now.

“No, not at all,” he told reporters. “I see myself as someone who is going out there fighting for a spot still.”

Although Smart appeared in 67 games last season with 38 starts, the starting point guard job is indeed one of several positions that at this point, is anyone’s for the taking.

In addition to Smart, the Celtics are also giving serious thought to having Isaiah Thomas in the starting unit. Thomas, who led the team in scoring at 16.4 points per game last season and was runner-up for the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award, has made it known to all that he wants to be a starter this season.

And his play has been surprisingly very point guard-like with, according to Thomas, not losing a single game in camp at the team's practice facility and doing so while taking the fewest shots.

“Isaiah is last on our team in field goal attempts through the (first) four days of practice that we’ve (kept stats),” Stevens said prior to the team’s departure to Milan. “And has been unbelievable on offense which tells you all he’s doing for everybody else.”

While Thomas wants to be a starter, he has no issue with reprising his role as a high-impact performer off the bench.

“If that’s my role I definitely want to be the best sixth man,” Thomas told CSNNE.com. “If I’m a starter, I definitely want to be the best starter there is. Whatever my role is, I want to do it at the highest level.”

Smart feels the same way, which is why he spent a good deal of this summer working on the parts of his game that weren’t nearly as strong as they need to be in order for him to be the kind of difference-maker the Celtics are hoping he develops into.

Even with his improved play, Smart knows winning the starting point guard job won’t be easy.

 

“We have a lot of guys that are versatile in that position and a lot of guys that are very talented,” Smart said. “That position and every other position, is up for grabs.”

In addition to Thomas, Smart must also be on guard for Evan Turner who was the team’s primary playmaker last season after Boston traded Rajon Rondo to Dallas in December.

When the two played at the same time last season, Turner would usually play the role of point guard while Smart played more off the ball.

This season, there’s expected to be a greater balance when the two share the court together.

“Whoever gets the ball pretty much runs the show,” Smart said. It puts other teams in a bind. They don’t know which one of us is the point and how to guard us. Pretty much whoever gets the ball brings it up and runs the show.”

In his second season, Smart is excited about the competition he’ll have to contend with to be on the floor with the first unit.

“That makes it so much more of … the challenge makes it so much fun and exciting to go out there and play every day,” Smart said.

“We compete and we have a lot of competitive guys out there.”