Boston Celtics

Cedric Maxwell had a pretty interesting take recently on Marcus Smart. He described him as the best defender the Celtics have ever (!) had at the guard position. Even better than Maxwell’s former teammate, the late Dennis Johnson.

Maxwell asked Celtics president of basketball ops Danny Ainge to weigh in on the debate during their guest spot on Thursday’s Toucher & Rich show. Ainge might be a little biased nowadays, despite also playing with “D.J.” back in the day and adding the likes of Tony Allen to the roster. But while he admitted that the C’s “like Marcus” for now, the debate of the Celtics’ best-ever defensive guard is a tough one.

As Ainge explained in his appropriately diplomatic response, three are/were great in their own ways.

“They’re all different,” Ainge said. “I think [Smart] is Better off the ball than anybody I’ve seen, regardless of position, as a rookie coming in. He just has such great anticipation and instinct. D.J. had great length and athleticism and could block shots. He’d win games with steals, just picking them clean. And Tony Allen was as good an individual defender as I’ve seen in the NBA over the last decade or two.

“I mean, all three of those guys are very very special defensively. It’s hard to say who’s better.”


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