Celtics

Blakely: Smart should be captain of the Celtics

Blakely: Smart should be captain of the Celtics

BOSTON -- It’s not that hard to find a player or two on the Celtics’ roster that’s universally viewed as being better than Marcus Smart. 

But when it comes to leadership, it's not even close. 

Smart is indeed the smart choice when it comes to looking for leadership on this Celtics team. 

And that leadership needs to be more than just talked about and embraced by his teammates. 

It needs to become official; and by official, I mean Smart being named a team captain. 

Arguably the most storied franchise in NBA history, the Celtics have not had a team captain since Rajon Rondo in 2014 - the longest stretch without a captain in franchise history.  

Only 18 players in franchise history have been bestowed with the title.

There are few if any greater individual honors around these parts than to be named a team captain of the Celtics.

And the irony of that is the reason Smart deserves such an amazing individual honor is because of what he means to the team. 

Coach Brad Stevens has opted to go with a captain-less team, rationalizing it as wanting all the players to feel as though they have a voice in the direction of the team. 

While the premise is a good one and does make sense, naming a captain seems a logical next step for a franchise coming off a season when among the most talked-about issues was the team’s lack of leadership. 

And now it’s a lot easier to go with Smart as the captain with both Al Horford and Kyrie Irving off to Philly and Brooklyn.

Throw in the fact that the Smart, 25, is the longest-tenured Celtic and will be going into the second year of the four-year, $52 million deal, and all signs point towards Smart being named a captain sooner rather than later. 

Captain or not, Smart will find a way to put his imprint on games defensively while also making timely shots and setting up teammates with a much-improved game as a playmaker. 

But what will set Smart apart from his teammates this season is what happens inside the locker room or off the floor when the lights, cameras and action of the NBA are nowhere to be found. 

Smart will be the first to tell you he is a flawed player and will make mistakes at both ends of the floor this season. 

Still, what often separates Smart from others, are the lessons learned from those miscues and how he uses them to make himself and those around him, better players. 

That’s leadership, the kind that you expect from your captain, which is a title Marcus Smart deserves to call his own this season. 

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Why Grant Williams gave out candles to Celtics staff and teammates

Why Grant Williams gave out candles to Celtics staff and teammates

Last month, Grant Williams' generosity was on display when he provided the Boston Celtics staff with a special gift.

The C's rookie gave out candles to media members, teammates, and employees throughout the organization to show his appreciation for their work. He also took to Twitter to express his gratitude.

Williams talked to NBC Sports Boston's Kyle Draper on Celtics Post Up about why he chose candles as the gift for his kind gesture.

"Candles, for me, they always put me in a great mood," Williams said. "They're relaxing. They can change your emotion after a long day. I think it's a small token of just showing appreciation and allows especially during the holidays to be able to go home and just have something where you say 'I feel appreciated.'"

A simple yet thoughtful explanation from the 21-year-old.

Williams has been impressive on the court as well as off of it this season. Of course, his 3-point shooting remains an area he'd like to improve. Especially if it means changing some of the nicknames he's been given by his Celtics teammates.

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown proving the haters wrong

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown proving the haters wrong

When Jaylen Brown first signed a four-year, $115 million contract extension with the Celtics this offseason, there were questions raised about the deal.

Is this too much for Brown? Would he be able to live up to the deal?

Did the Celtics make the right move extending him?

So far, the answer to the lattermost question has been a resounding yes.

Brown has been proving his haters wrong so far this season to the tune of 19.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game for the Celtics. And on the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Talk Podcast, A. Sherrod Blakely, Kyle Draper, and Chris Forsberg discussed Brown's performance and Forsberg noted what has led Brown to such a torrid start.

What's remarkable to me is that [Brown's improvement is] across the board. It's not like one thing that Jaylen did this offseason. It feels like he improved his ball-handling, he improved his vision. Like I thought he would come into the season and make a noticeable leap. But to not only be up at 20 points per game now, even more in this stretch without Gordon Hayward, but to be able to take Jimmy Butler off the dribble, hit him with two crossovers and then hit a 22-foot stepback, Jaylen Brown wasn't doing that a year ago.

I look at his stat line now, and I know I've joked about it in the past, but it's pretty close to Jimmy Butler. It's getting closer to Kawhi Leonard.

Forsberg would clarify that Brown isn't on that level yet, but he certainly is getting better.

In addition to the discussion about Brown, the podcast crew also talked to Grant Williams, who discussed the start of his rookie season as well as some entertaining stories about some of his new nicknames that stem from his 3-point shooting.

Hear more from Blakley, Draper, and Forsberg on the latest episode of "The Celtics Talk Podcast," which drops every Thursday on YouTube and the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.