Back when the Celtics agreed on a trade that brought Kristaps Porzingis to Massachusetts and sent Marcus Smart to Memphis, not only the fans were surprised, but the players too. Some basketball experts have reflected on the matter and believe that this move was a “huge gamble” as Boston will miss “Smart’s presence on the court and in the locker room.”
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz explained why he believes that this past season’s Eastern Conference finalists will surely miss their 9-season point guard.
“Losing Smart, their starting point guard and an integral part of their success for the past nine seasons, is huge in a number of areas,” the NBA insider posted. “Once referred to as ‘the heart and soul of this team’ by Jaylen Brown, Smart was Boston’s best passer and only one season removed from winning Defensive Player of the Year. He gets the Celtics into their offensive sets, calls teammates out if necessary and can start fires when they clearly need a spark.
“Boston is destined to become a second-apron team, which will put limitations on their future trades and draft picks. With Porziņgis averaging only 54 games per season over the past four years since returning from a torn ACL, durability will continue to be a major concern moving forward.”
At the time the deal was made, the trade was seen as a good value on paper. https://t.co/OxrEuiI8TG
— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) July 19, 2023
The team from Massachusetts drafted the 29-year-old with the sixth overall pick back in the 2014 draft out of Oklahoma State. The guard has averaged 10.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists over 81 games wearing the green jersey while shooting 38.6% from the field, 32.3% from beyond the arc and 77.7% from the free-throw line.
As for the Latvian center, he hasn’t been able to hide his excitement for being traded to a top-tier NBA team.
“[It was] an opportunity to play for a really good team already and be able to add to that,” he said. “And hopefully to help these guys, make their life easier, and being on a high-level organization like Boston, historic franchise, iconic franchise, it made it extremely easy for me to make that decision.”
Last season, Porzingis averaged 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 blocks in Washington, while shooting 49.8% from the floor, 38.5% from range and 85.1% from the free-throw line.
Now that Smart has left the Celtics in the past, he believes that he’s a ‘perfect fit’ for the Grizzlies
Once Smart finally got over his initial shock of leaving Boston for Memphis, he started to feel excited about this new adventure in his NBA career, his first without the Celtics.
“I’m excited to start a new journey in my life and in my basketball career, and what better way to than to be in a city where it fits me perfectly?” the player told the press when being introduced as a Grizzlies player. “Grind City. I’m a grinder; that’s what I do.”
The Grizzlies VP of Basketball Operations Zach Kleiman says that the former Celtics guard checked all the boxes of what they were looking to trade for this summer.
“We took a step back coming out of this last season and said, what are the things that we’re looking to add in this group? You put out the boxes that you’re trying to check,” he said. “We’re looking for someone who can be the lockdown defender, versatile across positions. We’re looking for more playmaking.
“We’re looking for someone who’s battle-tested at the highest levels of the NBA. [We were able] to find someone — and I don’t think there’s many players in the NBA and I think Marcus is the very best of them — who kind of checks all those boxes.”
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