Marcus Smart Reveals How He Prepares For Elite Matchups

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

When people mention the Boston Celtics, the first players mentioned are normally their NBA All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Both are very talented and important to the team’s success, but even they would probably agree that the most important player on the team is Marcus Smart.

Smart is the heart and soul of the Celtics. He is their leader on and off the court, holding teammates accountable and getting the most out of them. He has been asked to play different roles throughout his career and you can be sure that he will give 100 percent effort in all of them.

This year he was tasked with being the team’s starting point guard. It is a role that he has played previously and embraced. He averaged a career-high 5.9 assists per game, helping get the team settled down and embrace the new system that Ime Udoka was implementing in his first season as head coach.

With Smart bought in, it was easier to get everyone to follow suit. While some of the players began showing attrition deeper into the postseason, Smart was able to keep the energy up, attacking opposing defenses as much as he could.

LATEST NBA NEWS: Marcus Smart & Boston Celtics Updates

Ultimately, the Celtics fell short of their goal of winning another championship, but it was a very good season for Smart. Not only did he improve as a point guard, but he also showed just how good of a defender he really is by taking home the Defensive Player of the Year award. He is the first guard to win the award since Gary Payton won it during the 1995-96 season.

How does Smart prepare when tasked with defending an elite talent on any given night? He shared some insight into his preparation during a conversation with Ben Rohrbach over at Yahoo! Sports.

“Simple. Before we come together as a team and watch film, I’m watching film and tendencies. I’m looking at my matchup of who I could possibly guard. For me, unfortunately, I’m guarding every position, so that’s a lot more work for me. Some guys I’m matched up on as I’m their primary defender. I’m going to see his favorite move, his favorite go-to move and his favorite counter for that go-to move, so I’m reading the tendency of guys before we even get together as a group. By the time we even come up with a scheme, I’ve already got in my head, when they do put the scheme together, how things are going to work.”

LATEST NBA NEWS: Marcus Smart & Boston Celtics Updates

It is no surprise that Smart puts so much time into film study as that is an important part of preparation. Being one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA complicates for him because as he stated, he isn’t defending the same position every night.

One night he could be tasked with stopping the opponent’s point guard. On another, he could be matched up with a high-scoring wing. Sometimes, he even defends bigger players in the post, using his strength and intelligence to overcome the size difference.

LATEST NBA NEWS: Marcus Smart & Boston Celtics Updates

There are numerous occasions that he will do all three in a single game as he will be deployed in whatever fashion the team needs to pull out a win. It is something that he takes great pride in, as stopping your opponent from scoring the ball is one of the best feelings a basketball player can experience and Smart does it at the highest level.