Marcus Smart made his first controversial, yet truthful public statement about Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as Celtics captain.
The demise of the Celtics over the past calendar year cannot be over-exaggerated. They finished 2019-20 on a high, making the Conference Finals with the 3rd seed in the Conference.
However, disaster struck as Kemba Walker suffered a spate of injuries and Gordon Hayward departed for Charlotte. The Celtics lost much-needed depth and were barely above .500 all season long last year.
Despite hiring Ime Udoka as head coach and changing stuff around, they are off to a dreadful 5-2 start this year. And the results aren’t nearly as jarring as the manner in which the Cs have earned these Ls.
All of their losses have involved some downright selfish, ugly offense from Jayson Tatum in particular. The All-NBA caliber forward has simply not taken the right decisions, and the team’s crunchtime offense has suffered as a result.
Jaylen Brown isn’t without his fair share of blame either. The 6’6″ swingman has been trying to make too much happen when he gets the ball. And he hasn’t gotten the ball often enough for his liking, as it appears from the evidence thus far.
The role players on the Celtics have been ice cold from range for the most part. Payton Pritchard hasn’t been good enough defensively, while Aaron Nesmith is still quite clearly a second-year player.
The likes of Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson have been mighty disappointments on offense at the 2-guard spot.
Marcus Smart decries Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s tendencies to not pass the ball
Marcus Smart has been promoted to the spot of team captain after his contract extension this past summer. He was advertised as a point guard entering this season, but has had precious little opportunity to display his playmaking.
It is clear that the Jays – especially Jayson Tatum – need to spread the ball around more, however. And Marcus Smart wouldn’t let that go:
“I would just like to play basketball. Every team knows we’re trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen. Every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen. I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys pass the ball. They don’t want to pass the ball.”
“That’s something that they’re going to learn. They’re still learning. We’re proud of the progress they’re making, but they’re going to have to make another step and find ways to not only create for themselves but create for others on this team to open up the court for them later down in the game where they’re always going to have to take those tough shots or take tough matchups when they do get the 1-on-1 or they bring the trap.”
Marcus Smart: “I would just like to play basketball. Every team knows we’re trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen. Every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen. I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys pass the ball. They don’t want to pass the ball
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) November 2, 2021
Marcus Smart may have been a bit harsh, but a wake-up call was necessary for the youngsters at this point. Here’s to hoping that they take the right message from their captain’s words and show it in their play instead of pouting, Ben Simmons-style.