With Rajon Rondo and Jameer Nelson out of the picture, Coach Brad Stevens has elected to go with Evan Turner as his starting point guard. While Turner has been serviceable, it’s time for Stevens to get rookie Marcus Smart the playing time he deserves and make him the starting point guard on this team.
Turner is a very inconsistent player who has yet to develop into the player the 76ers had hoped he would become. Drafted second in the 2010 NBA Draft, Turner was a big-time player at Ohio State-earning player of the year honors in 2010 along with first-team All-American Status. Here’s what Draft Express had to say about Turner back in 2010:
Any team looking for a dynamic shot-creator to give their half-court offense a huge shot in the arm would benefit greatly from Turner’s presence. This study does not even take into account his passing, rebounding or defensive skills, three of his best attributes, and which make him arguably the most versatile prospect in this draft.
While Turner looked like a sure thing back in 2010, in reality he’s turned into just an average NBA player. Referred to by some as “ball dominant” and “high maintenance”, Turner hasn’t shown me enough during his stay on the Celtics to warrant a starting role.
Marcus Smart Has All the Intangibles
I don’t think Stevens is unaware of the claims I’m making. Even though Turner has been starting, Smart has been logging more minutes (27 mpg over last ten games) and has the stats to show for it. Smart ranks 18th in the league amongst PG for Real Plus-Minus whereas Turner is near the bottom of the pack. It’s clear that Marcus Smart brings a whole host of intangibles to the game.
Unlike Turner, Smart plays with a lot of grit and heart. He has the tenacity of Gary Payton when he’s hounding the opposition with his shadow-like defense. Pairing Smart with Avery Bradley would be a defensive nightmare for opposing back-courts. The future looks bright when you imagine these two working in tandem to help slow down some of the best in the league.
Stevens needs to start Smart and let this pair do what they do best; defend. Although Smart is more known for his defensive prowess, he also has the potential to become a great point guard. Marcus has great size and strength to finish in the lane and to absorb contact along with decent ball-handling and play-making abilities. Though he could improve his dribbling and passing game, his jumpshot is what really needs most work.
Thankfully Smart is still a rookie and has a lot of time to develop into the point guard the Celtics are hoping he becomes. The most important factor for his progression is playing time; if Marcus was given 30+ minutes per game, who knows what type of production we could see from him.
As of right now, he has the right size, great work ethic and toughness to be a top tier point guard in this league. He definitely has the potential to become a great point guard like Gary Payton, Chauncy Billups or even Baron Davis. All 3 of these point guards were all defensive minded and had that tenacity that Smart brings in each and every game.
I trust in Brad Stevens and know it will happen eventually, but let’s just say it would be a Smart idea for Coach to get Marcus in the starting lineup. (Sorry I couldn’t resist)
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