One of the major sidelights of the season we have ignored is Marcus Smart, but we aren’t smarty-pants. We have been stung by our harsh opinion, and—yes—it smarts. Now, five games into his career, the young player with impressive minutes per game, may have broken an ankle.
We did not think he was a good draft choice, mostly based on at least one incident in which he went into the stands during a game to punch out a fan that spoke to him disrespectfully.
That was all we needed to convince us to call for quarantine. We did not want Thugzilla in Boston. Now we are thinking that the Celtics face another hideous player tragedy: loss of Smart.
Several weeks into the season, we do notice that Smart is receiving star treatment from all sides. And his behavior is stand-out normal.
Our old theorem is that stars are instant, and the Smart money is on Marcus. There is no development needed for stars. They show up whole and complete, no matter what the sport, no matter what the position.
And, we are smarting from our judgmental attitude once again.
Marcus Smart seems older than his years. Is it wisdom or simply a stylistic way of playing? He is fearless and not in awe of any big veteran star on floor. Is that arrogance, or equal opportunity knocking?
Smart seemed at first a poor shooter, or at least a perennially bad one. He fired away on all cylinders even if there were blanks in the barrel. As games have proceeded, he seems to be a secret cache of armament.
Do we dare think of him as the new Larry Bird? We must defer to Tom Heinsohn whose opinion always leaves us humble—and he is saying little, which may be volumes of insight.
Smart has one of those names—like Orr, Bird, Gronk and Rondo—that has metaphoric resonance. We may be smart to pay attention. Yet, career ruining injuries dogged Orr, Bird, Gronk, and Rondo, too.