Marcus Smart is the perfect building block for the Celtics next phase.
Jeremiah Short on December 24, 2014 - 4:35 pm
Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA Draft, NBA Top Story, NBA: Eastern Conference, Uncategorized
Jeremiah Short, Feature Columnist

The Boston Celtics have decided to end the Rajon Rondo era and start the Marcus Smart era. While it’s a bit premature, it’s the right move for an organization in the midst of a rebuilding project.

Nearly a week ago, the Celtics traded away Rajon Rondo, who was the last remnant of the “Big 3” era. The move didn’t come as a surprise-as it was inevitable following their selection of Marcus Smart, a point guard, with the 6th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The immediate question: Is Smart ready to take over?

The answer: yes and no.

Smart isn’t quite ready to handle everything that comes with being a point guard in the NBA. His shot selection is still suspect. His jumper is weak. And he’s only been playing the position for two years. All reasons to be hesitant on turning the reigns of an entire organization over to the passionate, first-year player.

Smart’s intangibles make up for his lack of polish, though. He’s a tremendous leader and has overcome a rough background to become a top pick in the NBA Draft. In addition to his intangibles, he’s a terrific defensive player with the length(6’9.25 wingspan) and size(6’3, 227) to guard three positions: point guard, shooting guard and small forward.

“Some of that stuff depends on the personality, how you play, what your expectations of that person are,” said Stevens. “You can be a floor leader and not have the ball all the time. He has the disposition to be a leader. He has a lot of growth that has to occur because he’s 20-years-old. But one thing we know right out of the gate is that we have a lot of versatility defensively with that lineup.”

The other interesting aspect of the Celtics making Smart their franchise player and jettisoning Rondo is that it would have been the right organizational decision even if they were both 20-year olds.

Here’s why.

Smart is more versatile: Rondo is a great defender and has the ability to guard two positions—point and shooting guard. But offensively, he can only play point guard.

Smart is the exact opposite. He can guard the three positions I mentioned earlier in the column. And eventually as he develops, he’ll be able to man those positions offensively, as well.

Smart is less mercurial: Smart’s incident with the Texas Tech fan last year is well-documented. I actually wrote a column in response to it. He hasn’t garnered a reputation as a malcontent or ticking time bomb, though. If the shoving incident is taken into context (His mother was being rushed to the hospital before the game.), I think it would be viewed more sympathetically, instead of with derision.

Rondo in retrospect has the reputation as a mercurial, volatile player who the Celtics were hesitant to give a big contract to because of those issues. I don’t make that statement to cast aspersions on Rondo. Franchise player’s normally have issues. Ego. Entourages. Off-the-court drama. But they have to at least be manageable. Rondo isn’t manageable.

Smart fits the franchise player model: Before the 2013-2014 NBA season, I introduced an equation to evaluate franchise players. I broke them down into three types: the dominant big man, the swingman and the playmaking point guard.

Smart fits the playmaking point guard model. Yes, he’s still transitioning and learning the position. But as he gains experience, I think he will resemble a more powerful, physical John Wall type of player with better defensive skills.

With the right pieces around him, Smart could lead the Celtics back to prominence sooner rather than later. The Celtics have accumulated the draft picks to bring in some of those pieces to put around him.

2015 NBA Draft: two 1st-round picks, three 2nd-round picks.

2016 NBA Draft: two 1st-round picks, four 2nd-round picks.

2017 NBA Draft: one 1st-round picks, one 2nd-round picks.

For a rebuilding project that I view as a three-year process, those draft choices will be valuable assets. The 2015 Draft is loaded, too. Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, Stanley Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay will likely be available. Assuming the Celtics miss the playoffs, they would be in position to take at least one of those talents.

It’s not like the Celtics don’t have pieces already in place, though. Kelly Olynyk had a solid rookie season. Jared Sullinger is a solid big. Evan Turner is flashing some of the potential that he showed at Ohio State. And James Young, my number-one rated shooting guard in the 2014 Draft, could be an excellent wingman to Smart.

“The confidence that [the organization] has in these young players, including myself, is tremendous,” Smart said. “It was a big move from the guys upstairs and just showed how they believed in these young guys and this young team that they have.

The team-first attitude exhibited in this quote is exactly why the Celtics future is bright with Smart leading the way.

Catch me on the “SportsKrib” on Wednesday’s 8-9 Central and Thursday’s 8-10 Central. Follow me on social media @DaRealJShort or check out my facebook page JShortJournalist or my Google Plus page J.Short- Journalist.

Posted by mlbnbasource

By Jeff P.

All of us had that moment we tried, and fought for something so intensely, with pain and dedication, but despite the fact that we deserved it, we didn’t get it or should I say we got “snubbed”. Why? Probably because the other competitor or contestant was more popular, more known, or all of the above. Well, plenty of rich, talented, and blessed NBA superstars may have that same feeling as i’m writing this article. Some players such as Lance Stephenson went from an unpopular, and low viewed at player to a player who is helping a potential run at a championship. Despite this, they have been snubbed from the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, which is a dream for all athletes to compete in, and play for. The list is long, and hard but the popular vote has overruled the true All-Stars, and it’s nothing that’s being hid.       First of all, let me start off by showing the two complete all star teams. The West team consists of the following players: Starters BC Stephen Curry BC Kobe Bryant FC Kevin Durant FC Blake Griffin FC Kevin Love Reserves BC Chris Paul BC Damian Lillard BC Tony Parker BC James Harden FC LaMarcus Aldridge FC Dirk Nowitzki FC Dwight Howard BC- Backcourt player       FC- Front-court Player           Of course this is a popularity contest for the starters, but this team mostly rewarded well-deserved players. However, there is always the exceptions. The Underserving All Stars: Kobe Bryant:         Of course Kobe Bryant is amazing, and is one of the most talented NBA players in history, although this revelation of him being voted in to start the all star game is just a bit too far. Not that this was unexpected, but Kobe Bryant has played only six games, in where he wasn’t impressive. Don’t get me wrong, Kobe Bryant is still at it, and may even be deserving to this spot had he played. Although he has been injured, and will most likely not even participate in the game. Clearly undeserving of the spot, but in the end it was going to happen whether you liked it or not. Dirk Nowitzki:        Dirk Nowitzki is a great player, but Dirk over Anthony Davis, or even Demarcus Cousins? Dirk has averaged a strong 22 points, a decent six rebounds, and has helped the Mavericks compete for a playoff spot in the tough West. Though when there are players such as Anthony Davis who have been playing with more explosiveness than a nuclear bomb, Dirk just doesn’t deserve it. Remember, this game is for players of this year, and not a few years ago. Blake Griffin:       Blake Griffin deserved an all star spot, and has been great. His dunk have continued, his stats are still up, but is he better than LeMarcus Aldridge? I’d have to say no. Along with Damien Lillard, Aldridge has been unbeatable as he has posted already 29 double-doubles on the season, and led the Blazers to be much better than expected. So did Blake Griffin deserve an all star spot? Certainly, but a starting spot? I think not. The Snubbs: Anthony Davis:       Anthony Davis is still on his rookie contract so he didn’t have enough money to bribe the NBA executives. Davis is the fastest rising star in this association in the league, and is the first player since Shaq to average 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in their sophomore year. Additionally, he is also the only player besides for Hakeem Olajuwon, and David Robinson to also average 1.5 steals, along with those stats in his sophomore years. Apparently, the all star game is not for future legends. Goran Dragic:       The Suns were predicted to be along with the Sixers, not just one of the worst teams this season, but one of the worst teams ever. Dragic had other plans. I can write a whole article about the amazing contributions of players like Marcus Morris, and Archie Goodwin, but who are we kidding? The Suns are Dragic’s team. BC Kyrie Irving BC Dwayne Wade FC Lebron James FC Carmelo Anthony FC Paul George Reserves BC Joe Johnson BC John Wall BC Demar Derozan FC   Chris Bosh FC Joakim Noah FC Paul Millsap FC Roy Hibbert BC- Backcourt      FC- Front-court The Underserving All Stars: Joe Johnson:       All of us should be asking the same question: Who did he sleep with? Demar Derozan:        Is this a Canadian thing? because if it was Kyle Lowry should have gotten the nod. Demar Derozan may be leading this team leading the horrific Atlantic Conference, but is that saying much? No. Demar Derozan may be averaging an astounding 22 points, but on 43% shooting from the field, is that really impressive? Not really. Also, the Raptors fans may be scared when I even mention this, but his defense is out of stadium. That is literally out of stadium, because the way Derozan plays defense he might as well not be on the court. In conclusion, should someone be an all star team which is full of team leaders because their leading a team with an easy schedule? No. The Snubbs: Lance Stephenson:         The real question is, who didn’t he sleep with?. Lance Stephenson has been amazing on both sides of the court this year and has went from a little nothing to a superstar. It still shocks me how the coaches didn’t choose him. Why? Maybe it’s because he crushed their teams continuously. Lance Stephenson isn’t only playing a shooting guard, but is also playing point guard for the Pacers as George Hill has been an ineffective point guard, as his passing skills haven’t been high on the charts. Overall, Lance Stephenson does it all. Rebounding, passing, defense, shooting, and all of the above. Kyle Lowry:         Kyle Lowry is the best guard in the country. That is Canada of course. In all seriousness, Lowry has been outstanding and has not only ran the offense, but has been solid on the defensive side. Also Kyle Lowry has averaged nearly 19 points, eight assists, and almost five rebounds in the last 30 days whilst shooting 46% from the field. He’s not only much more deserving than Derozan, but he may even be the best point guard in the Conference.            All I know is, that these coaches screwed up big time, but regardless we are in for an exciting weekend in New Orleans.