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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Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

The Boston Celtics are off to an 11-3 start to the 2019-20 campaign, which currently has them tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.

But if you're going to pick out one weakness on this year's C's squad, it's probably the frontcourt. It begs the question: Should they go out and get a legit big man on the trade market, or can they get by with the guys they have?

NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin and A. Sherrod Blakely weighed in on that very subject on the latest Celtics Talk Podcast.

"I am very hopeful when it comes to the frontcourt," Chin said. "I think that we have seen Robert Williams take steps particularly on the defensive end that I wasn't sure he could make, and I think if he continues on that trajectory and kind of figures out his positioning and hustles and plays hard, I think that that's going to be a huge help to the Celtics.

"And then additionally, Grant Williams. I am high on Grant Williams. The guy is so smart, and I know he is so undersized, but he's got so much heart and he is almost like a Marcus Smart 2.0 and he just wants to make plays. He just wants to impact winning, and I think there's value in that."

"I look at their situation the way that I would look at getting a new car," Blakely said. "How much is this going to cost me? How much am I going to have to lose in order to gain this new nice shiny vehicle? And to me, that's the issue that Danny Ainge has to grapple with.

"Because right now, he can get by with the group he has and they can make a little bit of noise in the playoffs, but you know that it is a weakness. You know that if you get a certain matchup, it could spell the end of your season. So you're going to need some luck on the way if you stick with the group that you have and make no significant changes."

Listen to the full episode below (frontcourt talks begins at 10:00 mark)

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Positive signs from Celtics west coast trip, Thanksgiving superlatives

Celtics Talk Podcast: Positive signs from Celtics west coast trip, Thanksgiving superlatives

A. Sherrod Blakely is joined by Abby Chin to break down the Celtics West Coast trip. They discuss their impressions of the Celtics now, and how they have changed from the start of the season. We also have some fun giving out some Thanksgiving superlatives. 

2:30 - How do we feel about the Celtics West Coast trip so far?  

5:00 - Has Jayson Tatum showed he can make the ‘leap’ to the next level? How much has he impacted the Celtics?

8:30 - Where do the Celtics rank in the Eastern Conference? What order is the top 3 right now? 

10:00 - Do the Celtics need some front court help? or as we confident in what they have now? 

13:30 - Is the buyout market the best spot for Danny Ainge to add a big man? 

16:00 - We give out our Thanksgiving-themed superlatives. Who’s the devourer of the drumstick? Stuffing the stats is...? Side dish superstar? 

30:00 - Who has been the biggest surprise player for the Celtics so far?

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.