Boston Celtics

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

Marcus Smart has never come across a three-point shot he didn’t want to take.

His desire to shoot his shot — no matter the situation, score, or time left on the shot clock — is often met with harsh criticism. If you listen hard enough, you can even hear the Garden collectively groan as Smart leaves his feet to throw up that shot.

And Smart, the longest tenured Celtic, is beyond aware of their feelings towards his erratic shot.

“It’s funny, because those same people that yell when I shoot it are the same ones that are saying, ‘We need you,'” Smart told the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett. “And then the next time I shoot, I guess they don’t need me. So, I mean, it is what it is.”

In his fourth season with the Celtics, the 24-year-old Smart averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game in 54 appearances in 2017-18. The 6-foot-4 guard also shot 36.7 percent from the field, and 30.1 percent from behind the arc. He followed that regular season up with 9.8 points per game and a 33.6 field goal percentage in his 19 postseason appearances.

Smart, a pending restricted free agent this summer, also hammered home the notion that he’s valuable beyond numbers.

“I know what I’m worth,” Smart told Bulpett. “This team knows what I’m worth. And people who really know basketball know the type of player I am. So I’m not really worried about those other guys who are fake fans or bandwagon fans or into the popularity game.”

Smart a highly confidence talent, and you obviously like, especially when he’s tasked with taking on a superstar in a defensive one-on-one. But the idea that those requesting a better shot selection are ‘fake’ or ‘bandwagon’ fans is just plain moronic.

Here’s something: Smart was one of 119 players to attempt at least 245 three-point shots in the regular season. His 30.1 percent success rate from deep ranked as the 116th-worst among that group. Only the Warriors’ Draymond Green (30.1 percent), Oklahoma City everything Russell Westbrook (29.8 percent), and Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder (29 percent) were worse. Both Schroder and Westbrook have built-in excuses as they’re relied upon to be the epicenter of their teams, meaning they’re the ones you want heaving up threes in any late-game comeback attempt, and Green’s 56.2 field goal percentage from inside the arc shows his offensive effectiveness elsewhere. But Smart really doesn’t have an excuse for such ridiculous shots.

But if that doesn’t sell you on Smart’s ineffectiveness, here’s another one: Smart was one of 24 players to throw up at least 65 attempted threes in the playoffs. His 22.1 percent conversation rate was the lowest in the league, 4.5 percent worse than Green’s second-worst figure of 26.6 percent. Smart also shot a horrendous 2-for-18 from three in elimination games.

Smart by all means insists that you don’t want him shooting because he’s not “popular.” He also isn’t going to stop shooting.

“And whenever I’m open, I’m going to take the shot, because that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Smart said. “This team gives me the opportunity to do that — and I have the confidence to do it. My shots are going to fall.

“I’m not really worried about it.”

Well, at least that makes one of us. Then again, I’m just a fake bandwagoner.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.