True, it’s a six-game sample size. Then again, the improvement isn’t just recent. As the numbers above suggest, Smart’s shot has improved pretty steadily this season. A more detailed look at Smart’s advanced shooting stats here.
There were hints of this as early as Thanksgiving. On November 24, Celtics247 wrote hopefully that Marcus Smart with an average shot “would be an NBA terror.”
Around that same time, CBS’s Matt Moore wondered, “Smart is the NBA’s worst shooter, so why is he so crucial to the Celtic offense?
Well, so far so good. In fact, if you scan back to games since January 1, Smart’s effective field-goal percentage is .532 — a little above the NBA average. Take it back to December 10 (26 games), and it’s still a .500. (Not a typo; it’s exactly .500.)
No one is recommending Smart for the 2019 three-point contest — he’s still hovering at a relatively anemic 30 percent level there. Or even trying to say he’s becoming a “really good” jump shooter.
The point is, Smart doesn’t have to be. Throw in the defense and the team rebounding. Factor in the loose balls, critical charges drawn, his assist rate, and the rest. Do all that, and Smart more than justifies his place on the payroll.
Marcus Smart, closing in on becoming an average NBA shooter, is becoming an NBA terror.